Monday, 22 December 2014

Best of 2014 Blog Hop Winners

Hello everyone

I am pleased to announce the winners from the Best of 2014 Blog Hop:

Thais Pampado wins a paperback copy of Two Sides.
Holly Letson wins a paperback copy of Applause.
Marnie Ward wins a paperback copy of Card School.

And for Just Desserts and The Perfect Marriage my lovely author friends have sponsored three winners of Kindle copies each, and they are:
Booklady, Maren NcConnel and Jessie 2247 for Just Desserts and
Linda, BN100 and Cheryl R for The Perfect Marriage.

I will be in contact with you all directly very shortly.

Happy holidays to everyone - have a wonderful festive time and thanks for reading.


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Best of 2014 Giveaway Hop

I am taking part in the Best of 2014 Giveaway Hop which is being co-hosted by I Am A Reader and BookHounds.
I am giving away copies of five of my favourite books that were published in 2014.

Applause by Madalyn Morgan (Kindle or Paperback)

Card School by Andrew Milner (Kindle or Paperback)

Just Desserts by Sue Welfare (Kindle)

 The Perfect Marriage by Debbie Viggiano (Kindle)


Two Sides by Paul Norris (Kindle or Paperback)

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is leave a comment under this post, and say which book you would like (and in which format) if you win.

For further entries (one per task) you can:
Add Applause by Madalyn Morgan to your 'to read' list on Goodreads
Follow Andrew Milner on Twitter
Add Sue Welfare as a friend on Facebook
Add Debbie Viggiano as a friend on Facebook
Add Two Sides by Paul Norris to your 'to read' list on Goodreads

Entries will stay open until the end of 18th December.

I am happy to send the prizes anywhere in the world.

Good luck and thank you for reading!

To win even more wonderful books please visit the blogs taking part in this hop: <!-- end LinkyTools script –>

Monday, 24 November 2014

Call for Book Bloggers

Over the past couple of years I have been slowly building my freelance business, mostly via word of mouth. I work for authors and small companies, helping them with an incredibly wide variety of tasks from editing to formatting, social media networking and marketing. Honestly, the list goes on and on. It has been a wonderful feeling being asked if I can help people, and most of the time being able to.

I have a number of author clients who have expressed an interest in help finding book reviews. I do have a list of book bloggers I have spoken to before *, but if any book bloggers read this and would like to be included on my list of people to contact, please do get in touch via my contact page, tell me your blog address, email address, and what genres you like reading and I'll add your details to my database.

I will also include people who would be willing to review on Amazon, Goodreads or Librarything if anyone is interested (or any other sites I have yet to discover).

I hope you're well and thanks, as always, for reading.

* If you're a blogger I have previously spoken to, do feel free to drop me a note to express an interest as well.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Review: Mr Nutcase iPhone Case

Well it's been.... ages. What can I say? Life plus the school holidays have taken over somewhat. As a result this post isn't anything to with writing (what writing?), but instead a review of a phone accessory.

My iPhone case
As the summer holidays drew to a close, I put my phone into my pocket one day and heard the tell-tale sound of plastic splitting. Gah!! Half a second later, I remembered the good folk at Mr Nutcase had emailed me to see if I'd be interested in a phone case to review. Knowing that I'm not in a position to replace my iPhone when it gives up on me, I want to keep it in good condition (aka alive) as long as possible, so I contacted the email address and they kindly sent me a new code, as mine had expired.

The website for Mr Nutcase is very simple to use, you simply register, chose an image from the selection on the site, or for that personal touch, upload photos as required, (I'm massively into animals so I used a recent nature shot I took and really liked). Then, you design your own case (this can be multiple photos in a collage if you wish) and they send it to you very quickly. In fact I ordered on the Monday and received it on the Wednesday. Impressive.

There was a little glitch with my order as the company had been working on the system due to a new case being added to the selection. As a result I had a call from one of the people who run the company and I have to say it was very pleasant and helpful. This didn't cause any delay though as everything happened very swiftly once I had placed my order.

I've been using my case now (mine is for an iPhone as I said, but they make them for many other models too) for a couple of weeks. Having test-driven it, I can say it fits the phone perfectly and functions exactly as you would expect as well.

I will end this review quoting my daughter who came in from school, saw the case, picked it up and said, "That Is Awesome." (Caps for emphasis - exactly how she said it!) I have to agree with her.

Thank you to the Mr Nutcase team for this opportunity.

For further information, you can:
Visit the Mr Nutcase website.
Add Mr Nutcase on Twitter. (Also, search for the hashtag #MrNutcase.)
Like Mr Nutcase on Facebook.

I was sent a code for a free phone case in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Book Review: Some Girls Do by Clodagh Murphy

I was lucky enough to win a signed copy of Some Girls Do (and a chocolate heart) during a giveaway on Clodagh Murphy's Facebook Page. (Definitely worth a 'Like'!)

The book went straight onto my Favourites Read in 2014 list on Goodreads, and then straight onto my signed book shelf.

I'm continuing on my mission to read for free during 2014 (and saving a fortune I have to admit) and since my last post, I have received a lovely gift which is a huge book of short stories, as well as a spectacular review book which I will review on my blog before too long. It's going well so far!

Check out Some Girls Do on or Waterstones or Blackwells or WH Smith or The Book Depository

Read my full review of Some Girls Do on Goodreads.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Reading for Free during 2014.

I know, it's been ages since I posted, I am so sorry!!

I'm actually feeling quite pleased with myself as for the first time in my life I have made a New Year Resolution that I am sticking with. I have been looking at ways to cut my expenditure, and after spending minutes, hours, probably even days on the Money Saving Expert website and realising I was actually doing everything they suggest already, I looked at what I could cut and the only thing really that I buy loads of is books. Somehow I went from that to deciding to try and read for free during 2014.

So far I haven't done any borrowing from libraries or friends as I have been extremely lucky to have discovered Netgalley which is a site offering Advance Reading Copies (or ARCs) of books to readers who review books. I discovered this site thanks to my friend Pippa Croft whose new book The First Time We Met was on there, and have since been approved to read twenty other books.

Fantastic prize!
I have also been offered paperbacks by a couple of PR companies, and a couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to win a signed chocolate heart and a copy of Clodagh Murphy's new book Some Girls Do.

I thought aiming to read for free for a year would be really difficult as I prefer paperbacks to ebooks, yet somehow I have learned to read on my Kindle and not really notice that I'm doing so. I mean this in a good way, of course. I will never be completely cured of my love of paperbacks, but with the lovely PR companies I am in contact with sending me books every now and then, and the occasional win as well, I am finding this "challenge" a pleasure rather than a chore. And I am reading a lot at the moment, which is one reason my blog has been a bit quiet.

Soon, I intend to blog author interviews with some of the authors I have read. If you would like to read any of my book reviews, do feel free to take a look over on Goodreads.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The Curse of the Vanity Press

Dear Author

Thanks for your submission of three hours ago. 
We think your book is the best thing since Insert Name of Bestseller in the same Genre and would love to publish it. We ask our authors for a contribution towards the publishing costs of Insert Amount At Least Ten Times The Cost of Publishing Your Book.

Yours with hands being gleefully rubbed together

The letter above obviously wouldn't exist in that form. But a vanity press will publish any book for money. That's how they make money. So my suggestion would be, if any publisher asks for money to help with "costs" of publication, run like the wind.

I have recently read a review book which looked good, had a great (author/PR company) press release and appealed to me from the blurb. The cover made me curious as it was very simple and I wondered if it was significant to the story. Well it was, but other covers would have been way more relevant and appealed more to the target market.

The story was good, the characters were likeable in the main, irritating where they were meant to be, the layout of the book and paper were all good, it was packaged like a traditionally published book without a doubt. However, when I started reading it, within a few pages I wanted to throw the (400 page) book against the wall. Missing words, grammar crimes, repetition, switching points of view, telling not showing... my inner editor had a total meltdown reading it. What made it more of a struggle was that this 400 page whopper should have been edited down to about 270-290 pages in my opinion.

The thing that made me totally livid though, was this book had potential. A lot of potential. I would go as far as to say with the right editor, a better cover, and an early summer release date, this could have been stocked by airport bookshops as it was a summer holiday read, which could have been a page-turning 5 star read with the right edit.  The vanity press who published it have packaged it up at all but I would be willing to bet there wasn't any form of editing or proofreading. Well, either that or the editor and/or proofreader need to be walked out of the building without any time to clear their desks.

As writers we lack confidence in our work, we have to, or we can't constantly strive to improve. So when someone offers to publish the book you have worked on for months or even years, it seems like the golden ticket. However, a word to all would-be authors: do your research. Google is your best friend - research your publishers, don't grab any deal that is pushed under your nose, and if anyone asks for money, tell them thanks but no thanks. PLEASE.

Please, just do us all a favour and get a professional edit...
If you do wish to have control over your book, consider self-publishing instead of a vanity press. Then you really will only pay the costs of publication, and you will keep all of the profits (after Amazon/Lulu/Smashwords/Lightning Source/whichever other company you publish through keep their cut). These companies do not charge up front, they keep a percentage of the profit. The only other costs will be for a cover, because we all want a professional looking cover, right? There are also a huge range of editorial and proof reading services out there, some of which will provide a full structural edit of your book, some a copy edit, and some proof readers who will read your book and check for glaring mistakes. The editor you work with should suit you and your budget, but please don't just get your best friend and your mum to read your book and then declare it ready and stick the word document on Kindle. After your professional edit, either buy a book which tells you how to format for Kindle or pay someone to do it for you.

With all these costs, you will have a book published for well under the costs of "vanity publishing", and it will be edited properly and have a relevant cover.

A vanity press may say they will do marketing for you. Well let me be blunt. Anyone can set up an email list. Anyone can approach book bloggers for reviews (I did this myself for all three of my books). Anyone can get an author-friendly PR company to take on their book and promote it (obviously a PR company would cost more money, but if you have the budget for it, there are great companies out there), approach local radio, create their own social media profile etc. Even with the biggest publishers in the world you have to do all of these things anyway, so don't let a vanity press gloss up their package to be something special by offering these sort of things. They are simply ripping you off.

The last couple of times I saw books published by vanity presses I became friends with their authors and helped them out. From this I have built my freelance business helping authors with whatever their needs are - from advice to formatting, proof reading and lately editing. Do feel free to get in contact if you would like any further information, and please, please, please try and avoid the vanity presses. They will take your money, print your book, and leave you feeling disappointed further down the line.

I think I have ranted on enough now. Thanks as always for reading.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Info for Authors: New Books PR Service Launched

I have just received a press release from a PR company I have dealt with twice already and have decided to share it on my blog. I would recommend them to authors, including those who are self-published and with small publishers. They have a very personal and efficient approach.

New Books PR Service Launched

Writers can now benefit from guaranteed exposure in the UK national media thanks to a new service from leading PR agency London PR.

The agency has just launched a new division devoted entirely to books which offers authors a money back guarantee on national media coverage.

London PR has worked with a wide range of writers in the past including best selling Australian author Bradley Trevor Greive who has sold more than 20 million books in 29 languages.

After running successful PR campaigns for several writers during 2013 the agency has now launched a separate division to focus solely on authors.

The new books team is headed up by account manager Sarah Samways who says: “Writing a book is a great achievement but all too often authors end up disappointed by what they perceive as a lack of effort from their publisher in publicising the title.

“It can become a huge frustration. After all that effort they’ve put in, firstly completing their book, and secondly, getting it published, it can be a huge let down when sales don’t happen.

“But how can anyone buy a book they haven’t even heard of? It’s the age old publishing dilemma but it’s something we can help with.

“We deal with journalists every day and regularly create content for national newspapers and magazines. Therefore we are well placed to pitch in feature suggestions around authors and their books and we understand how to present these stories to the media in a way they find compelling.”

But she warned that the team would be selective on the projects they take on.

She added: “Clearly we need to believe in a book to be able to get the best results therefore we are discerning in our approach to the work we take on.”

Authors can find out more by visiting

If you have a book which you think the great British public should know about, please contact London PR by email at