Blog Tour: Hunting Angels Diaries by @ConradJones #huntingangels

Hunting Angels - Banner

 

As part of the blog tour for Hunting Angels by Conrad Jones, I have Conrad telling us about his favourite things.

My Favourite Things by Conrad Jones.

Animal

My favourite animal is my Staffie … I love the way Staffies smile when they look at you. They’re such loving animals.

TV show

The Walking Dead …I’m zombie mad!

Film

The Shawshank Redemption, Saving Private Ryan and Law Abiding Citizen.

Meal

Lamb Chops or Thai green curry.

Dessert

Cookie dough from Pizza Hut!

Holiday destination

So far, Cambodia or Vietnam.

Town/city

Rome

Breakfast cereal

Ready Brek!

Item of clothing

Blue jeans, polo shirts.

Childhood toy

Jacko my monkey.

Memory

Playing cricket with my dad. I miss him …

About the author:

Conrad is the author of seventeen novels, eight author guides and two biographies. He has three series;
The Detective Alec Ramsay Series; seven books Gritty Crime Thrillers
The Soft Target Series; Gritty Thrillers six books (Reacher Style)
The Hunting Angels Diaries; three books Horror Thrillers
You can find out more; http://www.conradjonesauthor.com
jonesconrad5@aol.com

I am Conrad Jones, a fifty-year-old author, originally from a sleepy green-belt called Tarbock Green, which is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool. I spent a number of years living in Holyhead, Anglesey, which I class as my home, before starting a career as a trainee manger with McDonalds Restaurants in 1989. I worked in management at McDonalds Restaurants Ltd from 1989-2002, working my way up to Business Consultant (area manager) working in the corporate and franchised departments.
On March 20th, 1993, I was managing the restaurant in Warrington`s Bridge St when two Irish Republican Army bombs exploded directly outside the store, resulting in the death of two young boys and many casualties. Along with hundreds of other people there that day I was deeply affected by the attack, which led to a long-term interest in the motivation and mind set of criminal gangs. I began to read anything crime related that I could get my hands on.
I link this experience with the desire to write books on the subject, which came much later on due to an unusual set of circumstances. Because of that experience my early novels follow the adventures of an elite counter terrorist unit, The Terrorist Task Force, and their enigmatic leader, John Tankersley, or `Tank` and they are the Soft Target Series, which have been described by a reviewer as ‘Reacher on steroids’; You can see them here.

I had no intentions of writing until 2007, when I set off on an eleven-week tour of the USA. The Day before I boarded the plane, Madeleine McCann disappeared and all through the holiday I followed the American news reports which had little or no information about her. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the terrible kidnap would inspire my book, The Child Taker years later. During that trip, I received news that my house had been burgled and my work van and equipment were stolen. That summer was the year when York and Tewksbury were flooded by a deluge and insurance companies were swamped with claims. They informed me that they couldn’t do anything for weeks and that returning home would be a wasted journey. Rendered unemployed on a beach in Clearwater, Florida, I decided to begin my first book, Soft Target. I have never stopped writing since. I have recently completed my fifteenth novel, ‘Brick’, something that never would have happened but for that burglary and my experiences in Warrington.
The Child Taker was the 6th book in the Soft Target Series but it also became the first book in the Detective Alec Ramsay Series when I signed a three-book deal with London based publishers, Thames River Press. The series is now seven books long with an average of 4.8 stars from over 2000 reviews. The first two books are always free with over 1100 5-star reviews. You can see them here
As far as my favourite series ever, it has to be James Herbert’s, The Rats trilogy. The first book did for me what school books couldn’t. It fascinated me, triggered my imagination and gave me the hunger to want to read more. I waited years for the second book, The Lair, and Domain, the third book to come out and they were amazing. Domain is one of the best books I have ever read. In later years, Lee Child, especially the early books, has kept me hypnotised on my sunbed on holiday as has Michael Connelly and his Harry Bosch Series.

 

Blurb:

When an author is asked to help the police with the investigation into a double murder by identifying occult symbols, which had been carved into the victims, he is plunged into nightmare and forced to go on the run. Hunted by law and a powerful cult, he has to stay one step ahead to survive.

Buying links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

 

Blog Tour: The Book of Air by Joe Treasure.

Today I have a second stop on a blog tour, this time for Joe Treasure, author of The Book of Air. He has stopped by to tell us what inspired him to write his book.

What inspired the story of The Book of Air?

Inspiration is a mysterious process. You can start with a fragment of an idea so insubstantial that you can’t explain, even to yourself, why it holds your attention. I’m fascinated by the way random things survive destruction and get passed on and acquire meaning. I have a diary that my mother kept for a couple of months when she was 14, living in another country in a time of political upheaval. There’s rioting, mass arrests, guns are fired in the street and she’s caught up in it. Meanwhile she’s fighting with her teachers and helping with the birth of a baby nephew. It reveals only a tiny fraction of her life out of all that I’ll never now discover, but it opens a door on a lost world.

In the far-future section of The Book of Air almost everything that constitutes our world in 2017 has disappeared, including most of the human population. People hold on to the objects from the past. Some of them have practical value, like knives and spades. Some are useless, meaningless even – a microwave oven, a laptop. In Agnes’s village, their most treasured possessions are three books. One of them, the most substantial, is Jane Eyre. Alongside the tough physical work of tending crops and animals, some of the villagers make time to study, specifically to copy passages from Jane Eyre. They have no practical use for literacy. They don’t write letters or shopping lists. They don’t make laws or keep the minutes of meetings. They have no concept of consuming stories for pleasure. They read and write for this purpose only – to keep alive the knowledge of the books. It’s irrational, but it’s also creative. It’s irrational in a very human way.

I hadn’t thought of this until I began writing this piece, but perhaps unconsciously it was the memory of my mother’s diary that prompted me to begin The Book of Air with 15-year-old Agnes writing an account of her life. In Agnes’s mind, this is an almost blasphemous act, to misuse valuable ink and to put herself somehow on a level with Jane Eyre herself, her only model for this kind of writing. It’s a community built on elaborate rules. And in the very first sentence of the story a rule is broken, which will lead to danger and to radical questions.

To understand how Agnes’s village came to exist in this unusual form, I realized I had to tell another story, set just a few years in our future – the story of the contagion that destroys civilization. So I invented Jason, Agnes’s ancestor, who experiences the strange symptoms of the virus, and survives. I resisted writing this half of the book. One of interesting things about writing fiction is that one thing leads to another and you find yourself pushed into uncomfortable territory. The logic of the plot makes demands on you. But what bubbles up out of the unconscious in response to that pressure is unpredictable.

I can see, now the book is complete, that there’s an interest in communities running through it. Agnes’s village is just one kind of community. When she ventures beyond the village, she finds more freedom but also more chaos. Jason’s story involves a number of communities, some benign, some isolated and cultish. People cluster together, or are pushed together by circumstances, and work out ways of living. When Jason escapes from London with his young nephew Simon, he finds squatters in his house, two women who already know how to live without electricity or running water. The women nurse him through his sickness. Meanwhile three other people turn up who have met on the road. They have nothing in common except the need to survive.

As Jason thinks back on what has brought him here, and what has brought the world to this desperate state, he remembers other communities – including the travelling band of Christians with whom he spent part of his childhood, and the various groups that his younger sister Penny, Simon’s mother, got entangled with during her short life.

I think it’s no accident that I’ve written this book at a time when there’s a lot of anxiety floating around, a strong sense of existential threats, political or environmental. How do we cooperate and remain open to each other in the face of such dangers? I didn’t set out knowingly to write about these things, but I think the book is a response to them, even so.

The Book of Air

Retreating from an airborne virus with a uniquely unsettling symptom, property developer Jason escapes London for his country estate, where he is forced to negotiate a new way of living with an assortment of fellow survivors.

Far in the future, an isolated community of descendants continue to farm this same estate. Among their most treasured possessions are a few books, including a copy of Jane Eyre, from which they have constructed their hierarchies, rituals and beliefs. When 15-year-old Agnes begins to record the events of her life, she has no idea what consequences will follow. Locked away for her transgressions, she escapes to the urban ruins and a kind of freedom, but must decide where her future lies.

These two stories interweave, illuminating each other in unexpected ways and offering long vistas of loss, regeneration and wonder.

The Book of Air is a story of survival, the shaping of memory and the enduring impulse to find meaning in a turbulent world.

 Purchase of Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Book-Air-Joe-Treasure/dp/1911525093

About Joe Treasure

Joe Treasure Photo

Joe Treasure currently lives in South West London with his wife Leni Wildflower. As an English teacher in Wales, he ran an innovative drama programme, before following Leni across the pond to Los Angeles, an experience that inspired his critically acclaimed debut novel The Male Gaze (published by Picador). His second novel Besotted (also published by Picador) also met with rave reviews.

Website – http://www.joetreasure.com/

Twitter: – https://twitter.com/joetreas

 

Guest Post: There’s Something About Cornwall by Daisy James.

Cover of There's Something About Cornwall

Happy Publication day to Daisy James!! She has written a post about the importance of location in books and how a hurricane led to her writing her first novel. Make sure you read to the end to find details of a giveaway. Thanks for stopping by Daisy.

There’s Something About Cornwall

 

By

Daisy James

First of all, a huge thank you for featuring my brand new release – There’s Something About Cornwall – on your blog.

Location is always very important to me when I’m writing. It’s almost as though it’s another character that requires just as much attention, just as much crafting, as any other. My first novel – The Runaway Bridesmaid – was set in New York. I enjoyed an amazing trip there a couple of years ago, for a milestone birthday, except, instead of spending five exhilarating days taking in the sights, because of Hurricane Sandy we ended up being there for eleven. Everywhere was closed, even the Broadway shows, so I grabbed a pen and some paper and started writing and my first published novel was born.

When I began researching my fourth book, I wanted my characters to have a fabulous backdrop for their story, so it had to be Cornwall. The scenery is so beautiful and diverse, not to mention the fact that the sun always seems to be shining. There’s Something About Cornwall follows Emilie Roberts, a food photographer, who takes a culinary road trip around the whole county as she works on a photoshoot for a celebrity TV chef working on her next cookery book.

Emilie’s epic journey starts in Padstow where she meets Matt at a beach party. He becomes a last-minute replacement driver for an orange-and-cream vintage campervan they’ve nicknamed The Satsuma Splittie. There’s plenty of stops along the way and lots of baking and tasting of the delicious Cornish food that is being photographed.

I wanted to showcase not only the local recipes, but also the wide array of artisan beverages that Cornwall is famous for. So, in Truro, they visit an apple orchard where Emilie photographs the Cornish Cyder Cake and Apple and Caramel Loaf, but they also indulge in a few pints of the local Scrumpy.

Apple & Caramel Loaf

Apple and caramel loaf

During my research, I was amazed to find that vineyards flourish on south-facing slopes and fabulous white and rosé wine is produced in Cornwall. The county is also the only place in England that grows tea – Tregothnan Tea – it offers a whole new meaning to the label English Breakfast tea!

I also came across the Southwestern Distillery, run by Tarquin Leadbetter, which produces not only Cornish Gin but also Cornish Pastis. The pastis is a modern take on the classic French aperitif and the first of its kind created in the UK. It is made with gorse flowers foraged from the Atlantic clifftops and fresh orange zest finished off with a touch of liquorice root. Tarquin also grows his own Devon violets for use in his Tarquin’s Gin.

http://www.southwesterndistillery.com/

 

I hope readers will enjoy escaping to our southernmost county when they read There’s Something About Cornwall.

coaster photo

For a chance to win a book on the history of the much-loved, iconic camper van, a mug and a coaster, just follow Daisy James and retweet the pinned tweet. The prize will be drawn on 31st March 2017 (UK only).

Daisy James links:

BuyLinks: http://buff.ly/2kQhrmp 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/daisyjamesbooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daisyjamesbooks/

Also on Instagram.

Blurb

 A knight in a shining camper van!

Life is far from picture perfect for food photographer, Emilie Roberts. Not only has her ex-boyfriend cheated on her, he’s also stolen her dream assignment to beautiful Venice! Instead, Emilie is heading to the wind-swept Cornish coast…

Emilie doesn’t think it can get any worse – until disaster strikes on the very first day! And there’s only one man to rescue this damsel in distress: extremely hunky surfing instructor, Matt Ashby.

Racing from shoot to shoot in a bright orange vintage camper van, Matt isn’t the conventional knight in shining armour – but can he make all of Emilie’s fairy tale dreams come true?

Blog Tour: Guest Post by Angela Corner Author of The Hidden Island.

hidden-island-blog-tour

I’m delighted to have Angela Corner, author of The Hidden Island on If only I could read faster today giving us some writing advice. As I’m still trying to finish my NaNoWriMo project I’m still really interested in getting all the advice that I can and I have to say that I found a lot of what Angela had to say interesting. I hope that you do too!

Writing Advice

Do you write every day or wait for inspiration to strike?

One of the things I learned for writing for soaps is that if you get up in a morning and wait for inspiration to strike then you’ll never finish anything.  There are days when writing feels easy. The ideas flow, your sentences seem to appear on the page as if by magic, you are ‘in the zone’ and it feels great.  But then there are the days when your mind is blank. The keys on your keyboard might as well be in Chinese. The temptation to eat cake and chocolate or even do some house work is almost impossible to resist.  It is those days when you have to battle and sweat and just write something. Anything. It will feel like total rubbish, and may well be total rubbish, but you have to force yourself to keep writing. It’s a habit, a discipline. And even on those bleak, painful days you may produce something worth keeping. Or the germ of something worth keeping.  

Where do you get your ideas from?

Everywhere. From the news, from family and friends, from eavesdropping on conversations on trains, in pubs and in shops.  There’s a thing called the creative bubble or the creative cloud.  It’s populated by everything going on in the world, locally and nationally.  Everyone can access it and draw inspiration and ideas from it. Sometimes people will reach into the bubble, pull out the same things and come up with very similar ideas at similar times.  It then looks like people are copying each other when in fact they’ve simply got the same ingredients from the bubble and put them together in the same way.

Using friends and family’s experiences – including the most shocking and upsetting ones – as a basis for stories can be difficult to reconcile.  Every time someone confides in you the writer part of you will be thinking of ways it could be made it into a story whereas the ‘human’ part of you will be sympathising and trying to help or console.  It’s a conflict that all writers have and it is essential to keep enough distance between real life experiences and what you use in your stories, either by time or by altering aspects of the story. Otherwise you may end up with no friends and lots of family conflict.

It’s a good idea to have an ideas notepad. You might be working on something else but have a new idea. Write it in your ideas notepad for future reference. It’s very easy – and tempting – to have a great new idea and abandon whatever you’re currently working on to start the new idea. It’s the grass is always greener phenomenon.  New ideas always seem better than the one you’ve been sweating over for weeks and months.  A bit like the excitement of a new relationship. But if you constantly move onto the newest idea you’ll never finish anything. All writers are guilty of it.

Do you plan or make it up as you go along?

All writers are different. Some plan to the nth degree. Others start at chapter one with no idea where they will end up. Most writers are somewhere in between. If you are a writer who has started many books but not managed to finish any then I think planning the structure and major events/turning points is a sensible idea.  It gives you a framework and keeps you focused with certain points to aim for.  With The Hidden Island I started with a fairly detailed plan of each chapter.  This did change to varying degrees as I went along with some aspects removed and others added in.  The original plan included lots of flashbacks to Beckett’s previous investigation on the Island but during the writing process I found this slowed the action too much.   The other big change to the original plan was the ending. This changed when I was writing the synopsis to send off to publishers and agents. In writing the two page synopsis (easily the most difficult part of novel writing!) I realised the original ending wasn’t working as well as I’d liked and a different ending popped into my head.  I put the new ending in the synopsis and then rewrote the final chapter.

My writing day

It’s important, or at least to me, to get into a writing routine. Most writers seem to have a routine that suits them and their lifestyle and mine has had to adapt to changes in my own life.  My preferred time of day to write is actually in the evening and on into the early hours.  However this routine is not conducive to a healthy relationship!  I also struggle to write if anyone else is in the house.  Complete immersion in my made up worlds requires no real world distractions.  So my writing routine now means writing during the day whilst the house is empty. I have a minimum word count of 1000 words a day.  If the writing is going well then I will continue on past 1000 words and keep going until I get beaten by the clock or simply feel too tired to carry on.  If it’s one of those struggling days I will write my 1000 words and then stop but I will make myself do a 1000 words however long it takes and however horrible those 1000 words feel.

Edit as you go or just keep going?

It’s tempting to start each new day by going back over what you’ve written the day before and rewriting it.  But this can really stall all forward motion.  I will edit as I go during the day but once that day’s writing is done, in general, I won’t go back over it the following day. There are exceptions to this – if something really isn’t working, or if I get a lightbulb moment that evening about a new way of doing things or an extra story strand to add.  It’s important to keep going and bury any self-doubt until you’ve got to the final full stop, of the final sentence, of the final chapter.  Then put the manuscript aside for a few weeks, or months. Work on something else. Start a new book, or at least the research and planning of a new book, before picking up your first draft and beginning the editing process.

The Hidden Island by Angela Corner is available now from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Blurb:

The Hidden Island: an edge of your seat crime thriller

Sex. Drugs. Murder.

Hidden behind the crystal seas and beautiful beaches of a Greek Island dark and dangerous secrets lurk. Beckett has had his fill of adrenaline fuelled criminal investigation and with a broken body and damaged career goes to the Greek Island of Farou to head up the Criminal Investigation Bureau. Serious crime is rare, the weather is great and the beer is cold but his ‘retirement’ is cut short when a pagan cult resurrects and bodies start showing up.

With doubts about his mental and physical ability to do the job, a British police detective is sent to help with the investigation. DI Lee Harper is everything Beckett is not – young, ambitious and by the book.

As well as tackling the new case Beckett must overcome the demons from his past.

Family loyalty, power and money are at the source of the investigation where appearance is everything and nothing is what is seems.

Can Beckett and Harper work together to find justice for the victims?

Will the idyllic island ever be the same again?

Sometimes paradise can be hell.

“This gritty thriller is a brilliantly plotted and refreshing read. Angela Corner is one to watch for those who like their books with a bit more bite” Betsy Reavley, best-selling author of The Quiet Ones, The Optician’s Wife and Frailty.

Angela Corner is a debut author who mastered her craft as a screenwriter on top serial dramas including Eastenders and Hollyoaks. The Hidden Island is the perfect read for fans of authors like Lisa Hall, Katerina Diamond, Kathryn Croft and Caroline Mitchell

Blog Tour: Only The Dead by Malcolm Hollingdrake

only the dead bt.jpg

Today on If only I could read faster we have Malcolm Hollingdrake answering some questions about writing including where he does it, what he finds hard and what he reads.

Where do you write?

 I write wherever I can, providing that place is stationary! Trains, planes, boats and cars are out of bounds. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to but I suffer from acute travel sickness so that’s out. I’ll write anywhere at home but a favourite spot is with my back to a south-facing window at the end of the dining table. Unfortunately, my detritus, research really, tends to be spread alongside me too. In an ideal world, I’d like a room where I can leave everything and just close the door. One day!

Ideas

Ideas come at the most inopportune times. I now use my phone to jot down notes and ideas or make a voice memo. On so many occasions in the past something has come to mind and I have arrogantly said to myself that it’s so important I’ll not forget and then…gone! It was ever thus. Now, next to the bed, I keep a notepad and pencil for when, on rare occasions, I have an awakening Eureka moment.

I have always been a people watcher and this is a wonderful writer’s trait. Noting the way people move, the way they interact and speak can only help create and develop real characters. Sometimes, a chance conversation, a saying or colloquialism will often spark an idea that can be used or developed. The other week, my wife was on the phone and she was put on hold during which time music was played, you know the type, as if it’s played on a Jew’s harp; it was Handel’s Water Music. She turned and said, “This music is making me want to pee!” I nearly wet myself and so it was used in the latest book.

The hard part for me, names!

 Names! Naming characters is the bane of my writing life. If I had a pound for the number of times I’ve ended up with two characters with the same surname in the same novel! Christian names are fine providing you don’t have three in the same book. That can be confusing! Strange, but as I’m writing I’m blind to the errors. It’s only when I sit and read through do I see the mistakes. I’m grateful too for the sharp eyes of the editors who have found the odd faux pas.

I take names from everywhere, directories, and advertising, even the side of vans if they seem appropriate. Occasionally, people will ask to be added to a novel, selecting the character to suit their inner angel or devil! I know authors who have offered this service as a prize. A great idea! Anyone want to be in a novel?

 What do I read?

 Strangely, I try to leave crime fiction alone for fear of either picking up an idea or an author’s style. I like my own. In the past I have enjoyed reading Robert Ryan, his blend of fact and fiction really captivates. Ranulph Fiennes has a similar style and for me he’s a real hero. ‘The Feather Men’ has to be a favourite. The other year I was lucky enough to hear him speak about his experiences, truly staggering achievements. I also love short stories, any collective cornucopia that I can dip into in no particular order appeals; one of my favourite writers has to be Saki. Most of my reads at present tend to be non-fiction, books related to Northern Art and artists. If I were to be honest, my writing takes a good deal of my time and I just love creating a different world! As someone said, I just make it up and write it down!

If I were to take three books to read again on a desert island;

‘Sagittarius Rising’ – Cecil Lewis

‘The Shepherd’ – Frederick Forsyth

‘Nangaparbat Pilgrimage’ (The Lonely Challenge) – Herman Buhl

Thank you so much for coming to visit us, Malcolm!

Malcolm’s book, Only The Dead, is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Guest Post: Confessions of a self-published author by Oli Jacobs.

I love this guest post by Oli Jacobs about self-publishing. Many authors self-publish and I always wondered how it worked, and now I know! Thanks so much Oli for coming to visit us on If Only I Could Read Faster!

Confessions of a self-published author

By Oli Jacobs

 Hello. My name is Oli Jacobs, and I’m an alcoholic.

            No, wait, that’s not right. I’m actually a self-published author. Well, alright, it’s kind of the same thing, but not really.

Let me explain… I’ve been self-publishing my work since 2012, when I looked at the vast amount of unfilmed scripts and short stories I had hanging around my hard drive. Rather than let them waste away in a digital landfill, I decided to throw them all together, do a quick edit, and send them out into the big, wide world.

Hence, Filmic Cuts v1: Sunshine & Lollipops was born.

It was a proud moment, I may have shed a tear.

What it also was, was the beginning of an adventure filled with dizzying highs, crushing lows, and creamy middles. I’ve published a number of books since across a range of genres and seen good reviews, bad reviews, and general waves of apathy. And now, I pass onto you, the good readers of If Only I Could Read Faster, my Oli Jacobs approved steps to becoming a self-published author.

May God help you…

STEP 1: Write a book

This is the easiest part, I kid you not.

Obviously you wouldn’t want to get into self-publishing unless you wanted to write a book, unless you’re a curious sort who likes looking at things. Therefore, to self-publish you’ve got to actually, you know, write a book. Be it Fiction, Non-Fiction, a Graphic Novel or anything in-between, write it, type it, and get it done.

STEP 2: Edit your book

You’re not going to strike gold first time.

Trust me, even the best don’t bowl a perfect game. Once you’ve written your book, pass it to someone to proof-read for you, and make notes on what could be improved and how many times you’ve used “their” instead of “there”. Now, there are plenty of good proof-readers out there willing to look over your work. You can find them on various sites such as Fiverr (where a certain Mr J resides…), People Per Hour, or various other freelance websites.

However, if like me you are a poor, struggling writer, then search out a trusted friend. This gives you the bonus of having what could be considered an average reader look over your work, and also being able to pay them in resources like beer, or hugs.

After that, it’s a simple case of checking the notes, making the edits, and then polishing your work so it’s the best darn writing you’ve ever seen.

And seriously, don’t proof your own work. I made this mistake with Underneath and got the reviews to pay for it. Don’t be a jerk, get someone to proof-read your work.

(That sounded better in my head…)

STEP 3: Publish your book

It is time.

You’ve written your tome, had it looked over by someone else, edited it to within an inch of its life, and now you’re ready to push it into the big wide world.

But how do you do that?

Self-publishing has moved on tremendously since the vanity press of old. Not only do you have sites like Lulu.com and Smashwords, but big companies like Amazon are more than happy to create your literary baby. In fact, they are who I first went with, taking advantage of their Kindle Direct Publishing platform, where you can upload your book to sell via their Kindle service. In addition, if you want a juicy paperback, you can use Createspace as well and have everything wrapped up in a neat Amazon bundle.

Now obviously, publishing a book is more than just heavily edited words. For a paperback, you’ll need an ISBN, and while in the past you’d need to fork out some cash for some price numerical action, nowadays publishers like Lulu and Amazon provide an ISBN for you, meaning you can still save yourself some of that sweet, sweet whisky money.

Also, you’ll want your work to look dazzling, with a cover that speaks volumes. While the aforementioned websites offer cover design services, look out for independent artists who may be able to whip something up that is unique and visually sells your story. Personally, I use British graphic designer CM Carter and Canadian graphic novelist Elaine Will, who I shamelessly plug with a hearty thumbs up.

STEP 4: Market your book

Now here comes the tricky part.

Yes, everything up until now was easy. The writing, the editing, the publishing… all small fry compared to the big elephant in the self-publishing room: Marketing.

As good as your book is, it won’t get anywhere without people seeing it, so you’ll need to showcase it like a wonderful stallion. Social media is good for this, such as Facebook and Twitter, but also look into forums at Goodreads and, of course, Amazon. Here, you can meet likeminded individuals who will hopefully give you pointers and help you gain some of that dreaded exposure.

Most of all, don’t be afraid to give away freebies. Book Groups on Facebook are a great place to start, asking for reviews in exchange for a free copy of your work. Goodreads is equally as dandy for this, but can suffer from over-saturation at times.

Finally, if you have some cash to spare, look into sites such as eBookSoda and PeopleReads. Paid services like these can be hit and miss, while the more successful ones such as BookBub have a strict acceptance policy. Shop around and see what works for you and your budget.
And finally…

STEP 5: Believe in your book

You will not become JK Rowling or EL James overnight.

As I said before, self-publishing is filled with a mixture of highs and lows, and invariably there are more of the latter than the former. You may not get the reviews you want (if at all), and you may see a sudden surge of sales dwindle into nothing, but the low points are only chips on a road. The highs are wonderful, such as receiving a box of your first paperback, or hearing someone has enjoyed something you created.

Once you join the self-publishing world, you’ll see a lot of articles and features about people getting rich off of self-publishing. This may not happen to you. If it does, grand, and now I’m insanely jealous, but most of these people you read about either have great connections, experience in marketing, or have sold their soul to some sort of Eldritch Abomination.

Don’t do that. There are costly.

Most of all, just enjoy the fact that your work is out there. Once you’ve published your work, you’re no longer an aspiring writer, you are a writer, and well done you!

Now get out there, and write some more. And more. AND MORE!

*ahem*

Oli Jacobs is a self-published author from Buckinghamshire, England. You can find his work on Amazon, and “like” him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/OJBooks, or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/olijacobsauthor

Guest Post: The 1 Simple Habit Guaranteed to Lower your TBR Pile by Lucy V Hay.

Reduce Your TBR Pile

So I expect that most of you reading this have a big (or huge) pile of books yet to be read. I know that I do and that my TBR pile is actually way out of hand. On my Kindle I have 749 books, I’d estimate that about 70% of those have not yet been read. Eek. And yes I keep downloading more. So I definitely need to heed the advice of Lucy V Hay on how to lower your TBR pile. I hope that you find her post as useful as me!

The 1 Simple Habit Guaranteed To Lower

Your TBR Pile

By @LucyVHayAuthor

I LOVE reading. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a LOT of books in your ‘To Be Read’ (TBR) pile. As well as being on Goodreads, I am a member of lots of online book clubs (especially on Facebook). I also have severe ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO). As a result, every time I see a book I think looks good or others are raving about, I just can’t help myself!

Of course, Kindles are a big issue. I have friends who literally have TBR piles stretching into the hundreds, or even THOUSANDS. I am a Kindle Junkie, so I limit myself to just thirty downloads in my TBR pile  after a fellow book-loving friend suggesting picking a number and sticking to it. Or so I say … I’m currently at 32. So really, that strategy doesn’t work!

Secondly, I love charity shopping. If you see me in real life I like long skirts and floaty tops, the kinds of things you don’t necessarily find in high fashion stores. So, though I try NOT to look at the books while I’m in there, I’m always shocked by how many RECENT titles are in charity shops! Really, it’s rude not to buy them – real paperbacks (and sometimes hardbacks) for as little as a pound or two?? BARGAIN!

Thirdly, because I am a book blogger and have lots of friends and followers online, publishers, small presses and individual authors offer me ARCs and review copies quite a lot. In addition, I always enter giveaways – online and IRL – for books, as I figure ‘you gotta be in it to win it’. Just recently I’ve won books from Twitter giveaways and an author’s book launch quiz in my local cafe. Yikes!

So, though I try to limit myself to 30 hard copies of books as well, I’ve actually got another 36 on my nightstand (well, at least 15 of them are on my husband’s. He’s not happy about it).

So, what DOES lower your TBR pile? After all:

  • Picking a number of downloads/hard copies and sticking to it clearly doesn’t work.

  • Getting over FOMO isn’t going to happen.

  • Staying out of charity shops?? (Yeah good luck).

  • Not entering book competitions, quizzes and giveaways? (No chance).

  • Refusing ARCs /review copies? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

This is the thing. We have to approach this LOGICALLY – difficult, I know … These are BOOKS we’re talking about and we LOVETHEMSOMUCHOMG.

So, let’s break it down. As Kindle readers, we know the average novel (downloaded or not) has between four and seven hours‘ reading in it if you read at ‘normal’ speed.

So, if you want to drastically IMPROVE your chances of lowering that towering TBR pile, you do this:

Set aside one hour PER DAY for reading. Block it out in your diary. Set an alarm on your phone if you have to. BUT DO IT.

Yeah, I was skeptical as well. But seriously, it works. My time for reading every day is between 9pm and 10pm every night. You can get one book read per week this way, at least.

That’s 4 books read per month! What’s not to like?

If you’re a very fast reader, or you have lots of travelling to do (a great time for reading, as long as you’re not the driver!), then you could read EVEN MORE. Just think … A month from now, you could have made some serious in-roads into that TBR pile. Even if you buy more books, you have less guilt because at least it’s more likely to balance, than topple over!

Good luck!

BIO: @LucyVHayAuthor is currently writing her first psychological thriller novel. She is also a script editor for movies and has written the nonfiction book, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays (Kamera Books). Join The Criminally Good Book Club to sign up for news, offers and giveaways.