Joanne Phillips

A Writers Journey


writers’ resources

Two Books in the Top Six

This weekend I’m venturing into Kindle Countdown territory, with my very first Countdown promotion. Early results are promising, with sales of my second romantic comedy, The Family Trap, increasing massively.

The Family Trap (TFT) has always been a reasonably steady seller, and it’s just over a year now since its release. Sales are usually around 6-10 a week, and I imagine most of these are by people who discovered it after reading Can’t Live Without. I reduced the price of Can’t Live Without a couple of months ago (to 99p) and took it out of KDP Select, publishing it on Kobo via Writing Life and through other channels via Smashwords. Sales of CLW have increased on Amazon since then, and I think 99p is a reasonable price for a novel that has been out almost two years and had over 70,000 downloads already 🙂

As a quick aside, I have sold exactly zero copies of Can’t Live Without on Kobo. (I just checked again – still nothing.) If anyone reading this has a Kobo reader and 99p to spare and fancies making me very happy here is the link

So, back to Kindle Countdown. TFT has jumped from the obscurity of the 30,000-50,000’s to a whopping position of #1,300 in the overall charts, and is currently #1 in humour for parenting and families – perfect for the Mother’s Day weekend. Apart from talking about it on Facebook, the only additional promotion I’ve done is a sponsored Facebook post, which cost £15 and allowed me to target ideal readers. I did have ideas about a mini blog tour but these didn’t pan out unfortunately; I don’t imagine it would have made that much difference, although it’s impossible to know for sure.

So far, since the Countdown started, TFT has had 75 downloads, which is fab! And there are still 2 days to go. The great thing about Countdown is that you get 70% of the price, instead of the usual 35% you’d get if you had your book priced at 99p. Sales of CLW have jumped up too, which is also a bonus – and at the time of writing I have both books in the top 6! Check it out:

TFT & CLW top 6

It’s so nice when they meet in the charts like this, really makes my day. So here’s hoping all you mums out there have a great day tomorrow, and that loads more people download TFT during my Mother’s Day Countdown promo 🙂

Watch Out For The Changes

If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to recently, you’re about to find out! It’s all change here on the blog this week. First of all I’ll be unveiling my brand new ‘Author Website’, which will be aimed primarily at readers. The new website will be using the domain, but don’t worry blog-lovers – I’ll be continuing this blog just as it is, with loads of information about writing and self-publishing. The main difference will be that I can keep this blog focused purely on the processes of writing and publishing, and it will continue to be a great resource for writers and a fun place to hang out, with all the news, views, videos and photos etc you’re used to.

The new website will also have a blog, but this will be less frequent, and geared specifically to stuff that will interest readers. If you follow this blog now, but aren’t really interested in all the writing-publishing stuff, then the reader website is for you. Watch out this week for the links and the chance to sign up to email alerts for blog posts over at the new Joanne Phillips website.

A Brand New Name! 

This blog started off over 2 years ago with the title ‘A Writer’s Journey’, and to reflect how far it’s come I’ve treated it to its own special domain name: I’ve got big plans for this blog, and once I’ve separated the two functions – reader-focused and writer-focused – I’ll be unveiling some new services and opportunities. It’s going to be an exciting year – I hope you’ll stick around and share it with me 🙂

Coming tomorrow: Photos! If you missed them on Facebook at the weekend, I’ll be bringing you the results of my recent ‘author photo shoot’ tomorrow, along with my tips for getting the best photo possible.

Need A Personal Assistant To Help Market Your Book?

I first met Kim Nash (aka Kim the Bookworm) back in 2012 when she reviewed Can’t Live Without on her brilliant blog. When I heard that Kim was branching out into author marketing I was so excited I invited her on to talk about her new service. If you’ve ever felt that marketing was eating into your writing time, read on. I know I’m going to be adding my name to her list of clients very soon.



Kimthebookworm has been reviewing and blogging about books for nearly 3 years. The idea developed and was inspired by a conversation she had with author Milly Johnson and Kim hasn’t looked back since. Mom to 6 year old Ollie, Kim works for a marketing company by day and also writes and reviews for family travel and review site and also writes for You can find Kim’s reviews at

“While I love my day job, which is working for a marketing agency, I also love working with authors and books and that’s where my passion lies.   I’ve recently set up a services page on my website, so that authors who want to concentrate on their writing and want a little help on the marketing side, can come me and see how I can help them to ultimately sell more books.

A couple of weekends ago I met up with an author that I’ve been speaking to on Twitter for a few months now.

This author is someone who loves to write, and has oodles of ideas for her next books up her sleeve, but who has no idea where to start when it comes to getting the word out about her books.

I’ve been able to help her in a number of ways some of which I’ve listed below.

Social media – a great way to get the word out about your books but it is something that does need to be done properly and regularly.

One of the first things I did is to set up a Facebook page, so that she can keep all her “booky/authory” related posts in one place, and keep all her info for her friends separate.   She is happy to post on this page herself so this was just a one-off set-up.

I’m also running her Twitter account on her behalf, until she feels confident in using Twitter.  It’s a great way of getting to know new people and build contacts but is not something you can dip in and out of when you feel like it.  You need to make sure that you are retweeting other people’s tweets, taking an interest, engaging with your audience and building relationships.   Within a week she had emailed me to say that she was really pleased to see that she had got an additional 60 genuine followers.

PR/marketing – so many authors have books out in the market place but don’t have time to tell people about them or don’t know where to start.

We started by putting together a list of local magazines and radio programmes and we have written to them offering the author for features and interviews.   We’ve also looked at local groups, where the author could go along and talk about her writing experience/journey.  Women’s Institute Groups, Book Clubs etc are a great way of getting to know some of the local community.

Our next plan is to arrange with local libraries for her to go along and do a “meet the author” event where readers can go along and listen to her talk about her experience and have the opportunity to post questions and have a book signed.  A lot of libraries love to do these type of events, but it is time consuming and again some authors don’t know where to start.

I also have a section on my blog where people can advertise their book.  Throughout the month, I will tweet and post on Facebook the link to the books that are advertised.  This is another opportunity for someone else to be posting on your behalf.

Today, being an author is so much more than writing a book.  You have to also have to be involved with your own PR and marketing.  So if you are feeling a bit bogged down by all the mullarkey that goes with being an author, why not use someone who loves to do it! As your personal author assistant, let me wave my magic wand and help you!”

You can contact Kim via her website by clicking here Kim will also be around to answer questions on the blog, so please say hello and fire away below 🙂

From Bed to Shed – Motivation Advice That Really Makes A Difference

I’m borrowing shamelessly from a pro-cycling term here: ‘From bed to shed’ is the phrase used to describe the most difficult part of any exercise session, namely finding the energy and motivation to get out of bed and retrieve your bike from the shed. The thinking is, once you’re on your bike it’s easier to keep going – starting is the hardest part.

Of course, writing is exactly the same. ‘From [insert any procrastination task here] to computer’ doesn’t have the same ring as ‘from bed to shed’ though, so I’m going to stick with the metaphor and trust you get what I mean. Starting is the important thing – getting your bum sat down in front of the screen, fingers on the keys, mind and body willing (and able) to continue for a while …

Cycling coaches use another useful approach to combat any training reluctance or procrastination: the commitment to do at least 20 minutes. 20 minutes is not long, it’s enough to squeeze in between more pressing engagements, it’s not too daunting or overwhelming. (We’re back to writing now, not cycling. Keep up!) But the idea is that if you can get yourself started, maybe by promising to do at least 20 minutes before giving up, you will often find yourself in the flow, more than happy to carry on writing for a lot longer than the planned 20 minutes. But even if you don’t, 20 minutes a day has to be better than nothing at all – and this does apply to writing and exercising!

Lovely hubby, who is a master at getting from bed to shed!
Lovely hubby, who is a master at getting from bed to shed! (Yes, he does have a shed inside the garage!)

Last night I watched a short video that really made me think. Basically the thrust of this health video is to encourage people to walk for 30 minutes a day. (You should watch it, it is really motivational – find the YouTube clip below.) What was incredibly powerful was the message at the end: Do you think you can manage to keep your sitting and sleeping to only 23 and a half hours a day?

Think about that, then apply it to writing. If you really want to be a successful writer (and success can mean whatever you want it to mean), do you think you can manage to keep your non-writing activities to only 23 and a half hours a day? Or if you decide you’d like to write for an hour every day, to only 23 hours?

Can you afford not to?

I’ve had a week where I’ve got very little done, and hardly any writing at all. Okay, none. I’ll admit it. My daughter had a sickness bug, she’s been off school, but that’s not really an excuse. There were evenings, there were the periods when she slept in the day. I’m not giving myself a hard time here, so don’t feel the need to jump to my defense – what I’m doing is merely recognising that I lack motivation at the moment, and I know this because there have been other periods of family illness and busyness that I have written all the way through without missing a target session. I’m focused – when I’m focused. I’m lazy when I’m not.

So, here is my motivation plan moving forward:

  • Think about the journey from bed to shed. What will get me sitting in front of my computer, fingers on keyboard, ready to write? (Not ready to answer emails or look on Facebook, bad Jo!)
  • Commit to 20 minutes only, aim for an hour if possible. If the first 20 minutes really do feel like pulling teeth, stop and start again later or the next day. If the muse grabs hold, carry on for at least an hour.
  • Make sure that hour a day is available and unlikely to be interrupted. Ask yourself: Can you keep your non-writing activities to just 23 hours a day? And answer: Hell, yes! If I can’t do that, I can’t really call myself a writer, can I?
  • Write first. Prioritise what matters most to your grand plan. Emails etc can wait until I’ve done my writing for the day. If they don’t like it, tough!

So, over to you – what tactics do you use to get from bed to shed?

23 1/2 Hours Video

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