Amazon, Book Clubs, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Reviews

Book Review – Top Producer by Laura Wolfe

I wrote this review for Chic Lit Cafe

Totally engrossing, fast paced, and super suspenseful Top Producer is one of the best books I’ve read so far in 2020!    Laura Wolfe had me on the edge of my seat! 

Twenty-four year old Mara Butler has had a string of misfortune including being dumped by her boyfriend and fired in the same week.  Even her mum and dad don’t hold out high hopes for her.  She’s a young woman who’s a bit of a klutz, struggling to pay a mortgage (for an apartment she should never have got) who attracts negativity wherever she goes.  But she has a dream.  Glued to programs about real estate, she’d dreaming of becoming a big time realtor.

Lying at her interview, saying she had walked out of her last job when really she’d been fired gives her interviewer a glimpse into her personality.  Add to that shoes that don’t fit and mismatched clothes, and Jacqueline Hendersen can see two things, Mara needs money and she lies – making her perfect for the job!  Becoming Jacqueline’s personal assistant at Greystone fills Mara with hope of fulfilling her dreams.  Tipping her last twenty bucks into the homeless guy’s lap, and determined to make money to help with her sisters medical bills, Mara is all set, sleeves rolled up, notebook open, ready to fly.

The trouble with flying high is that there is a long way to fall.  Things aren’t quite how Mara expected them to be.  Some deals seem a bit shady and her boss is extremely demanding.  Add to that the constant warnings about Jacqueline, and Mara reluctantly takes off the rose-colored spectacles.  I mean just how ‘creative’ can one get when selling property while still remaining within the law?  Can the lure of earning big and having success turn a good person bad?  Maybe that person always had a little gray inside them just longing for an outlet?  The real question is, what line is Mara willing to cross?      

Laura Wolfe’s story-telling is crisp, clean and well-written.  Top Producer is indeed a novel of suspense.  It is a gripping page-turner that comes highly recommended by Chick Lit Café.

Review warning: Before you rush off and buy any book that someone reviews you should read the free sample chapters provided on Amazon, this way you can decide for yourself if this book is your cup of tea or not.  Happy reading everyone!

If you would like to know more about editorial reviews, please contact Chic Lit Cafe

Amazon, Book Clubs, Goodreads, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books

Box Set Review – Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere – based on a book by Celeste Ng

What makes a woman a mother?  Does every mother deserve to be one?  Big, big, big issues are dissected in this truly amazing story. Looking at relationships from different points of view, how daughters see their mothers. How mothers see their children.  Image is smashed apart with a sledge hammer in this thoroughly gripping series.  I can’t rate it high enough.

In a way I wish I had read the book first, because now I’ve seen the series I don’t think I can read it.  The series was just that good.  The acting was brilliant, and my husband and I were on the edge of seats throughout the whole thing – which we binged watched!  When the final credits went up Andrew said, ‘I think that’s one of the best things we’ve ever watched’ so it’s not just for women.

Stunning Kerry Washington (who plays Mia Warren) had me in tears repeatedly.  The story is so moving, and the acting so real.  When my toes start flicking up and down it’s because I’m trying to rein in the tears.  Let’s just say my feet were hardly still!

Quick synopsis:  Mia Warren and her daughter Lexi turn up in the sleepy town of Shaker Heights.  Obviously on the run from something Mia won’t sign a year’s lease, on an apartment she rents from Reese Witherspoon’s character, Elena Richardson.  Both women have daughters… and problems.  Elena is ‘Miss Adorable’ of Shaker Heights, beautifully turned out, beautiful house, beautiful children, wonderful husband, her life is just perfect!  But perfection turns out to be an image that needs smashing, because her children are struggling to be… normal.  Mia, a stunning, creative artist/photographer, has a secret that’s eating her up and stealing her joy.  Sparks fly as these two very different, strong women get to know each other.

Reese Witherspoon does a wonderful job of showing us who Elena really is.  I literally yelled at her at one stage I was so worked up… that’s great story telling.

So read the book or watch the show, but whatever you do… don’t miss out on this amazing story.

Amazon, Angels and Demons, Book Clubs, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Reviews

Book Review – The Shining by Stephen King

As part of my research for Hope in Blackshaw Moor, which is a Romance-Thriller, I decided to do a little light reading… and dived into Stephen King’s 1977 The Shining!

I am not a fan of horror or anything bloody or gory, so I planned to ‘skim-read’ through and just get a feel for the book opposed to a concentrated read.  Well best laid plans and all that don’t always go as imagined and I ended up reading the whole book from front to cover.

I was pleasantly surprised for the Shining book is a lot meatier than the film.  I confess to seeing the film in my early twenties before I firmly made up my mind to steer clear of horror.  The film had my pulse racing until quite frankly I felt sick.  It was one of three films that put me off horror for life.  As the film was released in 1980 I should imagine that most horror fans of today would find it laughably tame, such is the fall of our innocence.

Without the dramatic, pulsating boom of background music that allows you to prepare for the frightening stuff in a film, the book was far more enjoyable.  Firstly, not picked up in the film (obviously in an hour and a half there is only so much story you can portray) is the fact that this book’s main character actually isn’t (honey I’m home) Jack, it’s his son Danny.  Btw ‘honey I’m home’ doesn’t feature in the book.  Danny has the Shining, a seventh-sense that gives him glimmers of the future.  The story dives into depth about the relationship between Danny and his father, that alcoholic, bad-tempered man who broke his arm, yet who he idolizes and loves as any son loves his father.  Stephen King takes his time building the characters of this family, making all three of them very real, which ultimately becomes the true psychological horror of the story.  For how can a loving father turn into a man who wants to slaughter his wife and son?  Is it the ghosts that roam through Overlook Hotel or is it the hotel itself that’s haunted… or could it possibly be the horror that resides inside a person is released in the right (or should we say wrong) circumstances?  Danny sees it all happen way before it actually occurs, yet clings to the fact that he knows his father loves him and would never hurt him, right until the end, and that is impetus behind this well told story.

What I didn’t like, (remember it was written in 1977) is that thoughts are inserted mid-sentence, throwing you off balance and making you re-read to fully understand.

What I loved, the love that Danny held for his father despite everything, and the ending, which is much, much better than the film.

This book is so old that if you fancy reading it you probably know someone who has it on their bookshelf gathering dust so you could borrow a copy.  Or charity shops are bound to hold several dozen copies of it.  However, if you’re a kindle fan here is the link below to Amazon.

Review warning: Before you rush off and buy any book that someone reviews you should read the free sample chapters provided on Amazon, this way you can decide for yourself if this book is your cup of tea or not.  Happy reading everyone!

Amazon, Book Clubs, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books, Reviews

Book Review – Cancionero by Randolph Parrish

I wrote this review for Kids Lit Book Café

Before I start the review, I just want to take a moment to mention reviews given on Amazon and othe platforms by the grammar-police. If I had gone off the reviews on Amazon I might not have picked this book, and what a shame that would have been! It could use a bit of old spit-and-polish, but then quite honestly most books do. I am so glad that I am able to see beyond the layout to engage with the beautiful story painstakingly told for us, the readers.

What a delightful gem Cancionero is.  Suitable for 5th grade upwards to adults, this engaging tale grabs your imagination.  Fantastic characters make this a wonderful ‘Children’s Western Historical’.

The glue that keeps you gripped to a good story is the protagonist.  Without that highly-liked and memorable person a story will fall flat.  No chance of that here, for in the small town of Cancionero – a place so hot that ticks and fleas die by roasting, there is a plethora of great characters, including a boy that no one wants.  Jeremy’s only possession when he turns up at the orphanage is his raggedy teddy, and his memories.  Immediately bullied by fellow orphan Shackle, Jeremy tries his hardest to slip into the background, a hard thing to do when it’s discovered he has the voice of an angel!

Randolph Parrish’s descriptions of the one horse town and all the people within it, capture the imagination and make it clear to see everything.  Besides loving the depth of personalities in this story, I thoroughly appreciated the story behind the words… that everyone (including a poor orphan boy and a drunk) has the right to be someone.  With encouragement, anyone can rise out of the situation and turn things around.  My favorite line from the book is when money obsessed Aloysius Twilder major of Cancionero, thinks God has answered his prayers with the arrival of Jeremy, for surely by sending the choir on tour he can not only get rid of the orphans for a while, but add money to his hoard!  Such are the creatures within this Western tale, that there is hope, even for the major.  I would love to be with a group of children who had just read this book and ask them what they might learn if they looked deep into the story.  Would they like me, see forgiveness, tolerance, acceptance and redemption?

Randolph Parrish has an almost artistic touch to his writing, the story burbles along like the flow of a sparkling stream, and seems almost like a string of sonnets.  This is one of the most pleasurable tales I’ve read for a long time, and therefore Cancionero comes highly recommended by Kids Lit Book Café.

If you would like to know more about editorial reviews please contact: Kids Lit Book Cafe

Amazon, Book Clubs, Indie-Authors, Reviews

Book Review – Best Foot Forward by Bea Stevens

I wrote this review for Chick Lit Café – Check out their site for reviews & book marketing.

Imagine Bridget Jones pretending to be Miss Marple, while working at Fawlty Towers and you have a good idea of what you can expect from this totally fun romantic comedy come cozy mystery by Bea Stevens.   

Liberty Lawrence (Libby to her friends) is on a who-done-it mission.  Hare-brained Libby is a day-dreaming expert, shoe-obsessed gal who is reeling from a cheating ex-boyfriend.  Money has been stolen from the hotel safe, and she’s pretty sure she knows who took it!  But who would listen to her when she points the finger at the woman who stole her man?  She definitely has trouble in convincing the handsome Sergeant James Harper to believe her.  With her bestie and roommate Cassie, she must hide the truth from two snooping reporters; appease her ever-crotchety boss Mr Partington, and somehow manage not to cover the guests in peas or trample on their dogs!

There is a plethora of laugh out loud moments in this jolly romp, my best laugh coming from the scene where Libby is covered in cream, lying on the bed listening to Whale music when Sergeant Harper bursts in on her.  Her response, in an accent somewhere between Spanish and Russian, of ‘no Libbys here’ had me in stitches, but the situation doesn’t seem to put off the Sergeant who thinks she’s beautiful, even if a little accident prone.  Will the thief be caught?  Will Libby ever find true love?  And will she ever own a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes?Bea Stevens has crafted a thoroughly charming and easy-to-read cozy mystery/sweet romantic comedy.  Best Foot Forward is a delightful, engaging funny novel that I’m sure you will love.

Amazon, Book Clubs, Kindle Books, Reviews

Book Review – The Line Between by Tosca Lee

I wrote this review for Chick Lit Café. Check out their site for book marketing and great reviews!

The Line Between is an exciting, gripping thriller you won’t be able to put down!  Tosca Lee has now been firmly added to my must-read list, and this book sits with pride on my bookshelf. 

What a character Wynter Roth is: young, brave, loyal and determined.  I was mesmerized by the dramatic events that came her way.  Outwardly, submissive and accepting of the cult’s rules, yet inwardly wondering what freedom might be like.  If she could disappear with Jaclyn and her niece Truly, she’d risk crossing that line and would escape ‘New Earth’ taking her chances amongst sinners.  Her sister won’t leave now she’s married, so Wynter keeps her thoughts to herself and determines to stay and be content, so long as she can spend time with Truly.

Things don’t go smoothly, and someone’s plotted against her.  Now her dream of a free life has turned into a nightmare, as she’s thrown out of her home, passed through the security gates and into a world she doesn’t know.  She’s crossed over.  One and a half feet, the distance of a step, that line between Heaven and hell or a single leap of faith.  A face from the past, her mum’s friend Julie, turns up like a guardian angel to whisk Wynter to her home, offering Wynter a life she’s suddenly not sure she wants.  If this wasn’t dramatic enough, something is going on; something that scares Wynter to death as she begins to dread ‘the end’ has come.  People are getting ill and going crazy.  Slowly, a virus is oozing its way across America.  Fear levels rise.  Survival mentality kicks in and all hell breaks out.

The plot thickens when Jaclyn turns up in the middle of the night, carrying an extremely valuable secret.  The race is on.  Wynter ignores danger and sets off on a mission of vital importance, heading into a world she doesn’t know at a time when panic is spreading.  Will she make it in time?  Will she make it at all?  And who is Chase and can she trust him?

Lots of research make this story (frightening) a real possibility.  Life is stranger than fiction, they say, and actual events are the inspiration behind this fabulous piece of fiction.  Enthralling, smart, page-turning and unforgettable!  The Line Between is a thriller that grips you to the pages and keeps you wanting more.  After writing this review I’m going straight to pick up book two, A Single Light, I’m so excited, can’t wait to start reading to find out what happens next!

Amazon, Book Clubs, Epic Fantasy, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Reviews

Book Review – On Twilight’s Wings by Ariel Paiement

Blurb

She is the key to everything.
Until a few months ago, Cat’s only worries were about her foster parents and whether she’ll be shipped off to another boarding school over the summer. Dealing with a painful past and a friendless existence were at the top of her priority list.
All of that is about to change.
Shortly after she finds out that she’ll be remaining home for the summer, the visions, headaches, and terrible pains start. Then a new guy shows up in her quiet neighborhood, and, suddenly, her visions are showing events surrounding him and other strange beings.
Nothing is as it seems.
In this new world, nothing is the way it was, and everything requires her to become more than a frightened foster kid trying to make it through the day. She’s determined to get answers, but the more she sees in her visions, the less certain she is that she wants those answers.
But answers are coming.
Like it or not.

My Review of On Twilight’s Wings (The Eclesian Chronicles Book 1)

4/5 stars

This is a well written, enjoyable YA fantasy, with strong characters and an interesting storyline.  I love stories about Angels and really enjoyed the love story between Cat and Gabe.

The reason for 4 stars instead of 5 is purely because of my past I struggle with stories of abuse and prefer more upbeat books so I can hide away from reality. There is also no ending which was disappointing, but glad to see this is book one and more will follow as I’d like to know what happens next.

Definitely a story young adult females will love.

Find out more about Ariel Paiement and check up on her reviews of other fantasy books on her wonderful blog.

Amazon, Book Clubs, Christian Fiction, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books, Reviews

Book Review – Marriage and Ministry by Amanda Kai

For fans of Jane Austen, Marriage & Ministry by Amanda Kai is a must read. The author excels in making her writing style feel like a natural flow-on from Austen’s beautiful book Pride & Prejudice. Did you ever wonder what married life was like for Charlotte and William? Well wonder no more. Amanda Kai has woven together a beautiful Christian story, not only reflecting on historical attitudes but on Christian values.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the moral behind this story is how do we, as Christians, see other people who may currently test our grace and mercy? This book is so well written and beautifully edited. With wonderful characters, a great story line and values to boot, I can honestly recommend this as a great book. Also, I find a lot of Christian ebook novels really over priced, and I can’t afford to buy them. I am pleased to say that this is very reasonably priced at only $3.99 – a steal for such a beautiful book. Why not encourage this author by buying her book today? I’m sure you’ll love it as I did.

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Born to Be, Christian Fiction, Epic Fantasy, Fairies, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Oracle's Quest, Promotion Values, the value of promoting your book

5 Days to a #1 BestSeller

I thought I might share how I recently got to be a Amazon UK BestSeller. Below is a graph showing the dates, who I used to promote, how much I was charged and how many sales I received. Hopefully, from the below you will be able to ascertain whether running consecutive promotions is something you might consider.

Promoter Cost UK     USA CA AUS Total
Weds 11th Book Raid $2.16 2 4     6
Thurs 12th Reading Deals $29.00          
& Books Go Social $39.50 1 7   1 9
Fri 13th Fussy Librarian $24.00          
& Book Cave $25.00 1 34   1 36
Sat 14th BookBub (not on in USA) $188.00 78 6 18 21 123
Sun 15th Books Go Social $39.50 7 4 3 2 16
All 5 days Amazon Ads $25.00   2     2
Total promotion cost $370.00 89 57 21 25
Total Sales 192

I reduced the price of ‘Idi & the Oracle’s Quest’ from $2.99 to $0.99 on Tues 10th Sep. On the 10th I received 3 sales and this can confidentally be accounted for by friends on FB sharing my post and also tweeting. Throughout the entire 6 days I tweeted numberous times and it is hard to know if any sales came from these tweets. I use Bitly to monitor link clicks on Twitter and in total I had 122 clicks, whether a few of these resulted in sales is hard to determine. I also can’t be 100% sure if the sales on the lines match the promoter as there would of course been a merging of promotions at certain times. This time round what was dissappointing for me where the two Amazon Ads I ran, normally these bring a much higher amount of sales.

Although I didn’t break-even during this promotion, let alone make a profit, that wasn’t the object of the exercise. The point of this campaign was exposure, to which end I am very confident to having received a measure of success.

The biggest success, of course, comes from the BookBub sales in the UK which took me to #1 and awarded me the Best Seller badge, which I can assure you I was over the moon about and opened the champagne to celebrate!

With a book only earning $0.34 per sale you can see I only received back a 5th of output. However, besides the books sales I received 6 audio sales, at a far better rate of return, and had many downloads with KDP Select, some days hitting over 3500 pages read, which in turn generates a fair income.

The last thing that upped my return were sales on my other books in the series, both book 2 and 3 sold 8 copies each at full price of $2.99.

Do I think the promotion was successful, and would I do it again – yes and in a heartbeat. It’s only been a couple of days since the promotion stopped and I’ve already had a review, just can’t beat that.

Amazon, Book Clubs, Fairies, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Reviews

Book Review – In For A Spell by Sharon Clare

Magical, enchanting, romantic, heartwarming… just a few words to describe this lovely book. Ever since I was little I have loved fairy tales. The magic, the mystery, the happy-ever-after. In For A Spell is definitely an adult (quite adult in one particular section!) fairy tale – and I loved it!

Finn, the interfering Elf, reminded me so much of Rumpelstiltskin it just made me smile every time he turned up on a page. This book is, however, much more than a fairy tale. For a start it’s a time-travelling romance, and a really good one at that. Maisie Armstrong is a wonderful character. I loved reading about the virtues that we nowadays would consider ‘old-fashioned.’ And who wouldn’t want to travel back in time to a place where honour was held in high regard? Especially if there was a tall, handsome, complicated laird Thane McKendrick waiting to sweeep you off your feet? This story is told really well, it flows smoothly and held my attention on every page. The theme takes you on a debate as to what really defines love and it’s importance in society in general, rather than just in your own life. Quite thought provoking. If you’re an adult, who like me, still loves a bit of magic, then this is a book you should read.

Sharon Clare has written other books and I really look forward to reading them. She is also an artist and offers book cover designs for authors. Sharon’s web page

Amazon, Book Clubs, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books

Faith in Abertillery ~ The Blurb

Not only do I hate writing blurbs, but I’m awful at it. I don’t think I’d even want to buy a book after reading a blurb I’d written.

So what do you do when you can’t stand doing something? Well you get someone else to do it for you of course! And that’s exactly what I did for Faith in Abertillery. I can’t afford to get all my books done professionally, in fact out of six releases I’ve only paid for 3 blurbs. Time will tell whether it’s is beneficial and actually does help sales.

The below blurb was created for me by Best Page Forward

Hoping to launch the book in the beginning of August 2019, watch this space for updates.

Amazon, Book Clubs, Epic Fantasy, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Reviews

Book Review – Darkspire Reaches by CN Lesley

Ok, I admit it, I’m a fantasy fan through and through. What I’m an even bigger fan of is, fantasy books that are both gripping and easy to read. This means that, Darkspire Reaches has to go onto my list of really enjoyable fantasy books.

Raven is a wonderful heroine, a witch, who from the first page, brings the story to life and makes you want to know what happens to her. The author carries Raven’s story from start to end in a smooth, page-turning way. Poor Raven has it tough, her life seems to take her from the frying pan to the fire, over and over. Someone weaker might have been destroyed, but Raven uses it to mature her character. Diamonds are formed by heat and pressure, right? She isn’t the only main character though, and one of my favorites is Kryling, the endearing Firedrake who just simply has a great personality!

Oh how I enjoyed this well-written book! I can’t wait to read more books by CN Lesley.

I loved how the author took her time in explaining everything, while at the same time never once writing anything not necessary or boring.

The story line is unique – something quite hard to do when just about every story line possible to write has already been done in some way or another. Darkspire Reaches is filled with a rich tapestry of characters that just make this a really great fantasy read.

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Epic Fantasy, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Reviews, World Building

Book Review – The Crimson Deathbringer by Sean Robins

Do you think the Akakies will visit us soon? I do love a good joke.

Well wow, you would not believe that this was Sean Robins first book! At the end when I read his short bio and discovered he’s a teacher, that made sense – because the book, especially for a first novel, is beautifully edited, easy to read and well-structured.

If you’re a SciFi fan then you’re going to love this big book. It’s meaty (long and detailed) bringing all the characters to life, making you like and care for them. They’re real people, in hopefully, not so real circumstances. Normally long books lose me, but not so this one. Each chapter kept bringing everything to life, definitely could see it as a mini TV series. Loved the alien humour – who’d of guessed that four legs and antenna could host a joke prankster? 
I really enjoyed that you saw the ‘bad guys’ (aliens) through their own eyes so you could see each aspect of the story as it came together. Well I could go on and on, because as you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed this story – highly recommend. ps also loved the GOT references, nice touch 🙂

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books, Promotion Values, the value of promoting your book

Free tools for creating media posts

I just found a new tool – absolutely free, for creating 3D images of your book covers. Love it, love it, love it. So easy to use, unlimited use and great PNG transparent images for using on ads. Want to try it out? Here it is 🙂 https://diybookcovers.com/3Dmockups

The other tool I use, to upload my pics and create ads, is Canva. Also free to use, although they have reduced the amount of stuff you can do for free it is still an amazing free tool. https://www.canva.com

This little ad just took me five minutes to create using the above two links. Why not give it a go?

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books

Coming soon…

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Christian Fiction, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books, Manchester, Mombasa, Promotion Values, Reviews, World War 2

Sale alert – Grace in Mombasa

Hi everyone From today until 21st May ’19, Grace in Mombasa ebook is discounted from $4.99 to $0.99! Why not watch the 2 min video clip below to see if this is a book you might be interested in?

Amazon, Book Clubs, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Promotion Values, the value of promoting your book

Amazon Advertising – How to set one up

Do they really work?

Well for me they do.  If you are thinking of following the steps below to set up an ad I would suggest you do something first.  Go to Amazon, put in books and then write your category in the search bar.  This will bring up 400 pages of books in your category.  Search for your book, if you find it then congrats you’re already doing something right.  Didn’t find it?  Good, now when you run the advert you will see how fab it is!  Before I ran my advert for my book Grace in Mombasa I went through the 400 pages and didn’t find it.  After I put my advert on the book has always appeared within the first 5 pages as a sponsored ad.

advertising 2

Don’t be put off by technical jargon.  Just follow the steps below and if you have any difficulty please don’t hesitate to ask me a question below.  Good luck!

Before you run the ad you need to do something very important.  Go to Amazon.com select kindle books, then type your genre in.  Look at the first five pages that come up.  Make a note of the books that have lots of reviews and I mean way over 100 reviews, the more the better.  Write down the author names and the book titles.  Keep the list next to you when you start your ad.

  1. Go to your kdp Amazon Direct Publishing book page
  2. Click on promote & advertise to the right of your book
  3. This brings up a new page, click on ‘create an ad campaign’ (you’ll probably be asked to sign in again)
  4. Choose your campaign type is your next option. Select Sponsored Products
  5. Give the campaign a name.  It can’t include any signs such as an exclamation mark, do not include numbers.  The name should be all letters, no spelling mistakes. Don’t leave two spaces after a word.  Make it as tight and clean as possible.  Such a fuss just for your campaign name but trust me my campaigns got rejected over and over just because I couldn’t get the name right.  I now keep mine simple so something like… book title and campaign one. eg Grace in Mombasa campaign one.
  6. Dates: leave this as it is, it will start as soon as it is authorized and you don’t want to put a close date in, if it is successful you want to run it for ever, and if it isn’t after a month or so you can go in and cancel it.
  7. Put in a daily budget.  Don’t be frightened to put in here more than you would like to spend, for two reasons, 1) I’ve never yet spent my daily allowance and 2) you will hopefully be making this money back!  It really is up to you how you wish to proceed, if you are a bit hesitant then just put in $15 per day.  I have set all my campaigns (yes all because I am adding a campaign once a week now) at $25 per day, I have never, ever spent this amount of money.
  8. Underneath Daily Budget is Targeting.  Select Manual targeting.
  9. Next is Ad Format.  Select Custom text ad.
  10. Products, if you only have one book this will appear here, if you have more than one book make sure the book displayed on the right hand side is the book you want to advertise.
  11. Next is Targeting.  Select keyword targeting.
  12. The next box is keywords and bids.  It will automatically default to $0.75 – change this to $0.45. Then tick the little tiny box under it that says bid+ (this means for you to win the bid Amazon might have to increase your bid slightly, I suggest you tick this.)
  13. You can now see ‘Suggested’ ‘Enter Keywords’ & ‘Upload file’ depending on confident you are you could upload a file.  I always choose ‘Enter Keywords’.
  14. Click in the box that is now saying, enter keywords separate by a new line.  Now type your list you wrote down earlier of authors and book titles that are in your genre.  Put one name or book title in, press enter and start the next one on a new line.
  15. The next section is ‘Creative’ here you must put in your catch line to attract people to come and have a look at your book.  Must be interesting and catchy.  Your ad is now displayed below and you can check the catch phrase really is eye-catching.  Remember we can go through all the logical steps of setting up an advert but if you don’t write something interesting here people are not going to want to look any further.
  16. Press launch Campaign.

hurray 2

Hurray you did it!  Good for you, so pleased you have taken a step of faith and launched yourself into the world of advertising.

It takes a while for Amazon to authorize your ad, then it takes at least 24 hours after its been authorized before your book starts having ‘impressions’ on Amazon.  An impression is when your book is presented on a page in front of a prospective buyer.  Reading your results and changing your ads is a whole new lesson, so maybe if anyone wants that lesson please let me know and I will do a new post in a few weeks time.

Lastly, give it a day or so and then repeat the first instruction… go to Amazon.com, select kindle books, put in your genre… now where is your book?

 

 

 

 

Amazon, Book Clubs, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Promotion Values, the value of promoting your book

Let’s get our books noticed… and make some money!

Amazon kdp select and Advertising

books

Some people don’t rate Amazon, a friend of mine has stopped buying from them due to their tax evasion policies… however, let’s face it, Amazon is a book lover’s paradise and they are, after all, the world’s number 1 book seller.  So as indie authors we really are losing out if we don’t use them as at least one of the places we sell our books.

dreams 2

The author’s dream is normally multi layered but I suspect, like me, that the biggest part of that dream is that readers would enjoy our stories.

Some people only dream of holding their book in their hands and having that reality come true it therefore doesn’t matter that they only sold 50 copies – probably all to family, friends and work colleagues, but that’s OK because for them their dream is complete.

There are a plethora of reasons why people sit down day after day and slave over producing a book, but honestly we’re fooling ourselves if we don’t acknowledge that we hope to sell lots of books and make an income from doing so.

So here’s why I recommend putting your books on Amazon, putting them into kdp select (so that people can read them through kindle unlimited), and why advertising is so important.

Visibility

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I might be the only crazy author around… although I doubt it, but when my first book went on Amazon I scrolled through 400 pages of sword and sorcery books trying to find my book.  Needless to say I never found it.  Now if I couldn’t find my book when I was looking for it how was anyone looking for a book in that genre going to find it?

The average person will scroll through the first 10 pages of a certain genre trying to find a book, if they haven’t found it then they either give up or try searching through a different category.  Our aim then as indie authors is to get our books onto the first 10 pages of our category/genre.  This is hard if the only thing you do is put your book up for sale, because you are waiting to sell approx 75 within a day to get your book into the top 100 of your category, but hold on, once there you need to maintain 45-75 sales a day to stay within those top numbers.  Now I wish that was happening to us author-preneurs but unfortunately unless your famous we have to work to get our books there.

As it turns out making our book visible on Amazon isn’t that hard after all, hallelujah I hear your cry.  To make our books visible we need to do only two things.

  1. Enroll in KDP Select
  2. Create an Ad Campaign
  • Enrolling in kdp means that two things can happen, the first and the most important is that people who have bought into Amazon Unlimited can read your book for free – hey hey you cry, we’re supposed to be talking about making money – trust me, we are.  Remember the fact from the last post?  If your average monthly earnings are around $500 then at least $200 of that will be from KENP which basically is the number of pages that have been read through kindle unlimited.  This is a great income, but there is something else to consider, and that is your ranking.  The higher your ranking the further up the scale your book travels.  Let me give you two examples from my books.

a) One of my books was ranked 1,298,428, I had 1 sale and my ranking instantly ascended to 120,148.                                                                                                                              b) Another one of my books was ranked 1,108,847, I had one person rent it on kindle unlimited and my ranking instantly ascended to 161,020.                                                            So, the thing to take from this is as far as ranking goes – and we need to get as high as we can, then it is almost as valuable to have someone obtain a copy through kindle unlimited as it is through purchasing a copy.

  • Create an Ad Campaign, honestly unless your famous or have thousands of friends willing to support you this is the only way you are going to obtain sales.  I have attended seminars and read and researched the ways people can sell books.  The biggest ‘seller’ seems to be having a mahoosive mailing list.  If that’s what you want then go for it, good luck to you.  But it’s not for me.  I am hoping in time that as I bring out more books people who enjoyed them would be likely to buy another one from me, but I am patiently waiting for that list to build up organically, I don’t think having thousands of people on an email list just for the sake of it is the way to go, but I am fully aware this is just my opinion and you must make your own.

ads

There is a reason that advertising has been around for years and is not going anywhere.  The most common way to learn about a product is through seeing an advert.  Obviously, some adverts like the one above (although funny) just should not happen, however, on the whole advertising serves a purpose and if we stick within acceptable boundaries there is no reason why anyone would think our book adverts are derogatory.

Now if you are like me and you’re on a budget you might say ‘this isn’t for me’ but hold on, before you go let me tell you that if Amazon Ad Campaigns are run correctly you should be making money and therefore getting all your advertising costs back.  I think I should also mention here, I am an indie author and I am in no way connected to Amazon as in I am not an employee etc and there is no financial gain from Amazon to me for mentioning them.  I am doing this blog solely because I wish to help and encourage other indie authors.

My next blog will contain step-by-step guide to setting up an advert on Amazon that will hopefully make you money.  (Just realized I made this post too long to include the guide.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Promotion Values, Reviews, the value of promoting your book

Amazon kdp Select & advertising – is it worth it?

   Yes!

amazon kdp select

Well in my experience anyway, and I’ve been an indie author for three years now.  In fact yesterday I removed some of my books from various other sites – from which I had zero sales, and put my books back onto kindle select.

The reason? Well to make money of course.  The main reason for putting books onto other sites, for me, was so that I could get a BookBub deal – which are supposed to be amazing, however, after I think about 30 submissions to BookBub with a no-no response I began to wonder if it was worth it.  I decided ‘no it’s not’ yesterday, took my books off other sites and returned to good old Amazon kindle select kdp.

piggy bank

Here are some interesting things I’ve learnt recently.

  • The average indie author only ever sells around 50 books
  • People who know how to use Amazon kdp and advertising move out of being an average indie and earn approx $500 per month and sell a lot more than 50 books
  • Out of that $500 around $200 will be from kindle pages read

So the answer to… Is Amazon kdp select and advertising worth it… is a very loud yes!

hurray

To make sales and earn money… and get good reviews… you need firstly to enroll in kdp select and then you need to advertise.

However, before you follow the steps in my next blog for setting up your own advertisement campaign with Amazon I need to point out some things.

  1. The first thing people see is your book cover, if your cover is not eye-catching and appealing then forget about advertising, no amount of pushing your book before people will encourage them to buy if the cover is flat or boring.  There are great cover designers out there, if you want me to suggest a couple then please ask in the notes below.  In my experience you can get a really good professional cover done for approx $100.
  2. The Blurb… the blurb… we hates the blurb!  Well I do anyway, again if your blurb isn’t punchy and interesting, and pleasing to the eye (in other words do you know your amazon formatting?) forget it, you can spend $100’s on advertising and no one is going to bite.  I know a really good company that do blurbs but unfortunately they charge $300.  Again, if you would like to know who they are, please ask in the notes below. (ps I’ll tell you a little secret…  I paid $300 for the blurb on my first book, it really is a million times better than anything I could do… however, not being able to pay $300 for all the other books I copied and pasted the formatting they gave me – double dutch jargon that makes your blurb stand out as professional on the Amazon pages, and just changed the words to the other books.  The blurb itself might not be amazing but at least it is presented well ha ha) I suggest you look for help from friends – especially book readers, and also ask several different book clubs, I belong to three book clubs that I really rate on FB, you pop a post on and get invaluable information and help.  This is a good place to put your blurb and listen to the comments that come back.
  3. Last, but by no means least, the book itself MUST be a) a gripping story and b) edited to perfection.  I got this wrong with my first book and I so regret publishing before I was ready.  Some readers are vicious, I mean down right uncaring of the years of hard work you’ve put into a book, if the editing is bad they will give you 1* and tell the world your book is not worth reading.  Once that review is on there you can’t get it removed, it is there for eternity and once people see that review you have an enormous amount of work to do to try and correct it.  Please, please, do not list your book until you have had it proof read by a professional.

So, have you got all the above 3 points done?  Then you’re ready to start advertising.  My next blog will be a step-by-step guide to setting up an advert that should make you money.

money

 

Amazon, Book Clubs, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books, Manchester, Mombasa

Why are Christian books so expensive?

I love a good book with a good story, and if that book happens to promote Christian morals and standards then I am doubly-happy.  It is therefore, rather distressing that so many good books by Christian authors are priced out of my price-range.

Who is it that set a kindle book at $8 – $15?  Seriously, you can buy paperbacks for that amount of money in the UK.  Other genres don’t have their books priced so high – does this mean that Christians are greedy and money grabbing, or just good business men and women?  Bestselling authors set their prices really high, bleeding their readers dry because they know they will buy regardless of price.  So, does that mean that every Christian author thinks they are a bestselling author?

What on earth is going on?

I can’t set my book at that price; I want as many people as possible to be able to read it, so currently mine is set at $3.99 probably going to $4.99 next year, which I think is a reasonable price for an e-book.  And, 50% of my commission is being donated to Barnabas.

Please let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below, would love to hear what other people think about it.

Amazon, Book Clubs, Christian Fiction, Dyslexic, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Manchester, Mombasa, Reviews, World War 2

Only 3 weeks to go…

I'm not rubbish

When you’ve spent most of your life… and you’re 57 so that’s a pretty long time… thinking that you’re stupid and rubbish and an idiot, it can be hard to change.  I do believe I’ve come a long way to getting over low self-esteem but then in times like this, that old nagging voice “you’re an idiot” returns to throw me into chaos.

What is causing this sudden panic attack that I might not have changed after all?  The release of my new book. Aha, you may say, really? that all?  Unfortunately, yes.  I have poured myself into my latest book ‘Grace in Mombasa’ and the fear of rejection is making me ill.  I have to wonder why I put myself through it.  Writing the story itself was quite fun and even relaxing, but then editing started and demanded sweat and tears from me in an effort to get it to a level that people could enjoy it.  Then all the expense comes, professional editing for someone with dyslexia like me is crucial and must be paid for.  Then there is advertising and promoting to be done.  I’m sure my friends must be sick of hearing about my books.

And now when I am waiting for the first reviews to come in, there is nothing left but feeling sick.  Maybe I should give writing up and leave it to the more hardy people out there.

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I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that people will enjoy Grace’s story, and until release date of the 1st Dec ’18 I am just trying to keep myself as busy as a bee and trying my hardest to switch off the anxious button!

Good news, getting an article in the local newspaper about the story – also keeping my fingers crossed to have a feature on Christian Premier Radio.

From war torn Newton Le Willows - to historical Mombasa

 

 

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books, Manchester, Mombasa, Reviews, World War 2

Grace in Mombasa – release date 01/12/18

 

Release Date Sat 1st December 2018

I am happy to say, that Grace in Mombasa is now with a professional editor being polished.

The release date on Amazon will be Sat 1st December 2018.

I’m so excited and can’t wait for people to read it and find out what they think.

53 days to go….

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Reviews

Review – Antiques and Alibis, by Wendy H. Jones

I have to begin by saying I think the book cover is great!  If you want a picture to draw you into a story, this one certainly does.  Its atmospheric black and white picture of a moonlit street simply shouts mystery and intrigue, a very good start for a detective novel!

As the blurb tells you, Cass Claymore is a red-headed, motorbike riding, ex-ballerina who inherits her uncle’s detective agency.  That alone was enough to tickle my interest buds and make me buy the book.

And I wasn’t disappointed.  From the get-go this tongue-in-cheek detective novel had me turning pages.

I really enjoyed the ‘lightness’ not taking itself too seriously, tone of the author.  The editing style also helped keep things crisp and easy to read and I found this very easy on the eye and relaxing to read.

The story is well paced and has good structure.  I instantly liked Cass Claymore and enjoyed the world-building that was created around her.  But I simply fell in love with the dwarf Quill (as apparently all the women around him do).  He’s a marvellous character, laid back, smooth talking and totally knows how to wind up Cass, just loved the conversations between the two, and have to say I do hope the author is planning a book two because I want to see more of them.

The only, very slight, downside for me was the ending.  It felt rushed, unlike the rest of the book which moves along at a lovely steady pace.  One minute something is left on Cass’s doorstep and the next minute (it felt) it was all round-up and over.  Who did leave the clue on the doorstep and why did they?  That’s too much of an unknown to leave me completely satisfied with the ending of the book.

That said, I totally enjoyed this book and found myself smiling in every chapter, and I would most definitely recommend you read it for yourself if you like murder-mysteries.

To conclude: A great, tongue-in-cheek, light-hearted mystery.  Highly recommend.

 

 

 

 

Amazon, Book Clubs, Born to Be, Christian Fiction, Epic Fantasy, Fairies, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Oracle's Quest, Reviews, World Building

Reviews by kids, for kids.

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Love my latest review, which is by Autumn aged 14.  Nearly all my reviews are by adults and I was really happy to receive this one through the website Reviews by kids, for kids.

Idi & The Oracle’s Quest by T N Traynor
ISBN 9781496043931
Reviewed by Autumn (age 14) for Reader Views Kids (7/18)

If you like mysterious rendezvous, witches, castles, demons, dragons and a quest to save the world then “Idi & The Oracle’s Quest,” book one in the Born to Be series, by T N Traynor, is a story you definitely should read.
A spell of forbidden love is cast, only to leave a princess grieving over her love after he is killed, and she is banished from her kingdom for the child she is carrying. Little does she know that the elements or earth witches have taken a solemn vow to protect her and her unborn child from an evil wizard by the name of Norvora. If he gets control of the child, he will unleash unimaginable horrors from the depths of Astaroth.
A plan is made by the fairies to intercept Princess Cassandra and her unborn child before Norvora can reach them. Their journey takes them through a forbidden forest to reach the mountains to a town called Tamarind.
A great and kind wizard named Marcus is called upon by the oracle Oleanna to find a boy named Idi who will become the greatest wizard of all time. Idi is an orphaned boy who has been pick on his entire life and felt like he would never amount to anything, until Marcus finds him and asks that he accompanies him on an important quest to save the kingdoms. Together they will set out on a journey to find the child who is meant to be king.

I really enjoyed reading “Idi & The Oracle’s Quest.” The story line was fast paced with hint of suspense. I liked how the author combined characters such as wizards, elemental witches, dwarfs and a dragon in a not-so-fairy-tale-like setting. The chase through the forest kept you on the edge of your seat, not knowing if Cassandra and the fairies would make it to safety before the evil wizard Norvora and his henchmen caught up with them. Every chapter had a twist in the story that was exciting and unexpected. My favorite character would be Idi. He felt like no one cared for him, but he would not give up on others and was always there for them.
“Idi & The Oracle’s Quest”, book one of the Born to Be series, by T N Traynor is a magical story that will leave you wanting more. I would recommend this story for 9th graders and up, and I look forward to the next book in the “Born to Be series.”

Link below to view the review on their website.

http://readerviewskids.com/reviewtraynoridiandtheoraclesquest

 

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Born to Be, Christian Fiction, Epic Fantasy, Fairies, Fantasy, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Reviews

The Innkeeper’s Son ~ K C Herbel

As a Christian, I love it when I find a book full of morals.  One of my all-time favorites is the Narnia series by C S Lewis.  Clive Staples Lewis (1898–1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day.

Image result for c s lewisImage result for the lion the witch and the wardrobe

I love that Clive went through changes in his life, which include losing his Christian faith and then finding it again later in life. A true prodigal son story.  He wrote quite a few books but I think the world’s favorite must be The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe.

I adore when a story has hidden beliefs and principles for life behind the writing.  My own series Born to Be, is exactly that.  I was once told that my story was too innocent to get anywhere, says a lot about the world we live in doesn’t it?

I was, therefore, over the moon to read The Innkeeper’s Son by K C Herbal, and discover a beautifully written, traditional fantasy packed with caring and sensitive characters.  Woven together in a magical story of dragons and fairies and magic.  I loved it and highly recommend it.  Very pleased to find there is already four in the series and I look forward to reading the rest.