Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Power of First Impressions and a Giveaway

When I walk in to a book store I pretty much take for granted the fact that I can pick up a book, feel it, marvel at the beautiful cover, and read the cover blurb. If I’m interested then I’ll have a bit of a flick through, and maybe read the first few pages. More often than not I will only pick up the book in the first place if it has a cover that I like, or someone has recommended it to me.

In the world of self-publishing, we don’t have the luxury of our readers being able to pick up our books and do all of that. Mostly, self-published books aren’t available in mainstream bookstores. So what can we do to entice people to want to read our books? Obviously, people need to know about the book in the first place which is where a strong on-line presence comes into play, but I’m talking about making a good first impression, and when it comes to first impressions I believe there are three fundamentals that count the most.

1) Cover design
We all know the saying, you can’t judge a book by its cover, and in some cases this is true, but I most definitely do judge a book by its cover. There are many books on my shelf that I’ve purchased based entirely on the cover design. I’m also a graphic designer, so cover design is a big issue for me. If the cover is not appealing then my interest is lost and I’m on to the next title in less than a few seconds. The cover is the time to make the best first impression that can possibly be made. A book might be the next big thing, but if it has a poorly designed cover, no one will care enough about it to read it. We need to make our readers care.

2) Book Description
The book description (along with a fantastic cover design!) is an important selling tool. It needs to peak a reader’s interest without giving too much away. Think of it as the on-line equivalent of the cover blurb. Once a reader has decided—oh I like that cover, it looks interesting—you need to keep them there long enough to consider clicking the buy button. A description that’s too long will lose readers, but so will one that’s too short and uninteresting. Just the right amount of information needs to be provided, commonly known as a hook. Which leads me to…

3) The Excerpt
Remember how I said when I walk in to a book store I take for granted that I can pick up any book and look at it? Well, that’s where the excerpt can really help. It gives the reader the chance to actually pick up the book and flick through the first few pages. It allows them to try it out, get a feel for your writing and hopefully suck them in enough to actually make the purchase.

By no means will these three things alone sell your book. Self-publishing takes a lot of very hard work and dedication. But getting them right will certainly make it a little easier.

It’s not long now until Fall For Me is due to be released, and I’ve decided to give five lucky people the chance to read the first three chapters before anyone else. Just fill in the entry below for your chance to win this exclusive excerpt, and good luck!

K x

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 17, 2012

For The Love of all That is Reading - Supporting Indie Authors

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to read. When I was young I was obsessed with The Baby Sitter’s Club. Every time the book club flyer came home from school, I eagerly ticked that box for the next instalment. I ended up with volumes one to thirty three, as well as a couple of the super specials. I also remember devouring my Mum’s Famous Five books, and although I didn’t keep my BSC books, I still have the FF sitting on my shelf.

Of course, as I got older my reading preferences changed. Through high school I didn’t read as much, but when I started college, I had an hour train trip each way five days a week. This was when I discovered Stephen King, and he is still my favourite author. For a while SK was all I would read. I was completely devoted to him, and reading anything else was like cheating on my boyfriend. I couldn’t afford to buy new books (and the eBook wasn’t even invented!) so I relied on my local book exchange for my fix. I could pick up a book from between $1.50 and $3.00 with the option to exchange for half credit. I never exchanged though, I couldn’t bear to part with any of them, and I have so many they now take up an entire shelf on my bookcase, double stacked.

I soon realised I was running out of SK books to read, and made the decision to branch out! I had no idea what I was missing out on all those years. There are so many fabulous authors out there; it’s difficult to know where to start. I admit now, I’m a bit of a cover snob. For me, a cover is a make or break deal. If the book has a beautiful cover, I am more likely to buy it. Three purchases I can think of where I solely bought the book based on the cover are: Fallen, by Lauren Kate, The Iron Witch, by Karen Mahoney, and Die For Me, by Amy Plum. With all three I didn’t even read the cover blurbs. I just knew I had to have those beautiful covers in my house.

For the past few years I’ve found my home in the Young Adult genre. I am a bit of a YA junkie, obviously with a preference towards fantasy and paranormal. I love my vampires and angels, and I will pretty much read anything on this subject.

When I decided to self-publish Fall For Me, I thought I better do some research and read some books by other self-published authors. Most self-published books are hard to come by in mainstream brick and mortar book stores, so when I got an iPad for my birthday this year, I downloaded the Kindle app and started to have a look around.

Now I’ll get back to my love for beautiful covers (there is a point to this post, I promise!).

While I was having a sticky beak on Amazon, I came across this:

Entangled, by Nikki Jefford, was the first eBook I actually paid for, and I was not disappointed. It follows the tale of identical twin witches. Graylee Perez mysteriously dies and ends up having to share a body with her less than savoury sister, Charlene. Nikki’s writing is unique and refreshing. I hadn’t read a witchy tale for a while, so I really enjoyed the change of subject and pace. Suffice to say, I then had to read this:


Duplicity is the second instalment in the Spellbound Trilogy. These covers are just so pretty, and I really hope Nikki never decides to change them. But… they are not just pretty. Nikki is very talented, which is why I am eagerly awaiting this:


Enchantment is due out Spring 2013 (in America) so sometime between March and June.

But wait, there’s more… Just recently Nikki released this:


I am a huge fan of vampires, but I like mine more bad-ass than sparkly (although I do like Twilight). Aurora Sky definitely did not disappoint. Nikki’s original take on these creatures of the night is packed with attitude, angst and blood, it’s a must read for any hard core vamp fan

You can grab your own copy of Aurora Sky from Amazon for only 99c! But hurry as this offer ends December 28th.

If you are interested in purchasing any of Nikki’s work (which I highly recommend) just click the image then follow the buy links on her blog. Please support her and other Indie authors. Cover art for Nikki's books by Najla Qamber Designs.

Happy reading.

K x

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Tis the Season to be Jolly With a Giveaway

I love this time of year. When I was younger it was because of the presents—let’s face it, who doesn’t like to receive a gift? But now that I have children of my own, it’s more about the giving than receiving.

The best part of Christmas for me is watching my daughter and son’s faces light up on Christmas day when they rip off the wrapping paper. The night before, we go through the rituals of putting out the beer for Santa and the carrot for the reindeer. They double check and triple check that their stockings are where Santa can see them, and they get so excited it makes my heart smile.

I also truly believe that it’s not the gift itself that makes Christmas so magical, it’s the act of giving, because isn’t that what it’s really all about? I much prefer to give than receive, and for me, giving someone a gift that I’ve selected just for them fills me to the brim with happiness.

Because I love to make people smile and I love giving presents, I’ve decided to run a week long giveaway. You could have the chance to win one of ten Fall For Me bookmarks just in time for your stocking this Christmas.

Good luck!

K x

a Rafflecopter giveaway