Single Rider, by Skye Leah Collett

Kenzie’s story is not your average romance read. In fact, if you’re looking for the young adult, romance, you are in the wrong section!

Single Rider by new author Skye Leah Collett is a sassy, modern, adult fiction story! If you like Sex in the City or ‘Friends’ but with a bit more attitude this is more the book for you. Warning, there is sex, drugs and more, but it’s fun, quirky and an engaging read from cover to cover!

Kenzie loves her single life. She is a writer who wants to publish that next book, but the words don’t seem to come out when she needs them to. To make up for her writer’s block, she has Michael on the side, a family who are always her strongest supporters, and then there is Dash – the ex-husband who is more like a best friend or brother nowadays. However, like any good story there is another equation to add…. And he goes by the name of Max! Kenzie doesn’t want anything more than a good time, but Max gives her a definite run for her money.
Whether you like, love or loath Kenzie, we all have someone like that in our lives, in fact she may even be you! The best part is, that this book took me back to my early thirties, and a time where being carefree and single was part of the adventure. A great first book and I certainly look forward to seeing what else is in store from Skye Leah Collett!

Book Award Contests!

What I have learned more than anything, is that the more credible your book becomes (via reviews and awards) the more likely it will spark the curiosity of your readers.

Reviews can be a little hit and miss. Firstly, you cannot force your readers to write a review after reading your book. Like most things, many people forget or will verbally acknowledge a good book, but your average reader will rarely sit down to write a one or two paragraph critique of your book. Most reviews come from professionals or even other authors, and trust me, sometimes it feels like you are pulling teeth to get a review written.

Another great way of getting visibility and credibility for your book, are book awards contests. Obviously, it counts on the quality of your book, but entering and winning an award can give your book a heightened accolade that will help get your book noticed.

The award contests below are just a few of the available opportunities for independent authors. Whilst there is an entry fee to submit your book nomination, these are certainly the contests that will create more hype around your book – if it is recognised as a winner!

Reader’s Favorite Awards – the deadline for the early bird entry is 1st April 2017!

Contestants for these awards range from new independent authors to New York Times best sellers. The awards have a range of prizes and an esteemed ceremony every year in Miami for its winners. They also have the attention from some publishing houses who have in effect picked up some of the winners to sign them to publishing contracts.

New Apple Literary Awards

Another great opportunity for recognition in excellence in independent publishing. The early bird entry deadline is 1st May 2017 with the final deadline 1st December 2017.  Note, that the price increases so it’s best to get in early! The New Apple team will also provide a certificate and an award trophy (at your cost) and your book will be promoted for twelve months via their social media channels.

The Best Indie Book Awards

With only nine categories, and exclusive to only independent book authors, this is another great award contest to ensure you get the recognition you are seeking for your book. A trophy is awarded to the category winner, and your book is publicised across various social media channels – so in essence you get some free marketing with the accolade.

IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Awards)

Has been running for 21 years now and has a very strong reputation across the author and reader community. Entries are now closed (25 February) for 2017, but these awards are certainly one to put in your calendar reminders for entry in 2018.

For those authors who are a little more money conscious, or don’t have the funds to spare, there are some free awards contests available (many hosted by independent authors themselves) which are mostly reader nominated, but again anything that gets your book out there via different channels is certainly worth exploring!

Where to start… the self-publishing question!

So you have written a book? Finished that manuscript? Now, you want to publish but you’re not sure where to start?

Firstly, I will say that there is no one clear path for authors today.

However, I’m often asked a lot of questions by new authors and aspiring authors, what did I do?

Sadly, there is no exact science to success, but there are certainly some things you can do to give your book the best chance possible.typewriter-1245894_1920

 

I have heard and seen much criticism for self-published authors. Much of this has been because of the ease of getting your book now on kindle or paperback via Amazon, Smashwords or Ingram without any vetting via an agent or proven publishing body. The thing is, if your book is bad it won’t sell. Fact! So regardless of being backed by a publisher, agent or doing it alone; the book needs to be attractive to the general public.

Without a doubt, there are some pretty terrible books on the market. However, I have seen these books represented by publishers as well as self-published authors – both of which I would never touch. From my experience, self publishing is what you make of it. If you want to be successful and you put the effort into your work and marketing it – you have a much better chance of succeeding. Like anything, nothing is guaranteed. But if you don’t try, you don’t succeed.

My advice, is to take the plunge, get your book ready, do your homework and just go!

If you would like any advice, guidance or help on your self publishing journey please contact me at mcgrathhouseltd@gmail.com 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Age of Reading

Recently I’ve discovered audible books and it’s a new world for me as a reader. However, when I told someone that I was into audible books their response was that it was the lazy way to read books…. but is it really?

As a child I had books read to me by my parents and grandparents and I vividly remember getting absorbed into the stories as they would change their tone and use funny voices to bring me into a different world with lots of fantastic characters.

Well, with audible books you have the narrator doing almost the same thing. With inflection, tone and different character voices, you are quickly engaged into a book while you are driving, on your train journey to work, or even laying by the pool on holidays. Suddenly you can access a whole new world of books on your phone or iPad. Just plug in your earphones and the rest of the world disappears for a short space in time.

So what’s so lazy about that? Okay, so you don’t have the joys of flipping page after page, and you can’t collect your audible books for display on your beloved bookshelf. However, for me, nowadays, it’s about convenience. I love books and I love reading. As a new mum however, sitting down with my kindle or paperback is a long lost memory with a four month old. Yet, with my audible books I can switch them on during the night feed or even on our car journeys, and I’m not missing out on discovering new books.

For me it is a win, win, and as more and more books are being converted to audible I’m able to broaden my reading collection even further. I’d still pick up a paperback, if and when I have time… but for the moment I’m still indulging in my passion for books, and I’m thankful for that.

Monthly Book Winners

As you may have seen, anyone can register their interest to win a FREE signed paperback copy of any one of Rachel McGrath’s books.

Congratulations to the following Monthly Winners so far!

If you would like to be in the running this month, please sign up here.

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The Overall 2016 Winner is…

With just over two months of voting, we received thousands of votes. After calculating the number of votes for each respective books across all genres, I’m pleased to announce that the person who received the MOST votes overall was:

GRANT LEISHMAN

with his book

THE PHOTOGRAPH

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Grant will be awarded an Amazon gift voucher in recognition of his achievement.

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Announcing the Winners…

After hundreds of nominations and thousands of votes, the WINNERS of the McGrath House Independent Book Awards 2016 have been finalised.

Competition was extremely close in all categories and I congratulate all finalists in their categories.

Children’s – The Bee Who Sneezed, by Stephen Evans61fjf8n8oql-_sx381_bo1204203200_

What would you do if you discovered you had a new talent. Well, Let me tell you, when this cute little Bee sneezed and fell he discovered not only a new way to fly, but a way to soar.

Fiction – Horror – Little Book of Horrors, by Lacey Lane41eqeg3tcl

Four chilling tales to mess with your mind. Karma’s a Psychopath Bloodlust The Monster Within The Revenge of the Pumpkins Warning. This book contains explicit content.

 

Fiction – Thriller/Mystery The Second Wife, by Kishan Paul51msbvjqmyl-_sx331_bo1204203200_

If you want to live, you must let go of the past… 

 

 

Fiction – Romance – White as Snow, by Jess James51jdtpyq-ml

A playful and steamy version of a fairy tale that is inventive and very amusing.

 

Fiction – Historical The Seven Year Dress, by Paulette Mahurin510k-mwo6l

One of the darkest times in human history was the insane design and execution to rid the world of Jews and “undesirables.”

 

Fiction – Young Adult Perfekt Order, by S.T.Bende51omqxag-il-_sx311_bo1204203200_

All’s fair when you’re in love with War. For seventeen-year-old Mia Ahlström, a world ruled by order is the only world she allows. 

 

Fiction – Sci Fi / Fantasy – Atlantis After Midnight, by Lisa Kurlow513ybdwobl
This is not your average tale of Atlantis. Shape shifters, aliens, and time travelers.

 

 

Fiction – Paranormal – The Photograph, by Grant Leishman51sctpgcael

When Tony Logan discovers an undeveloped roll of film from the 1970’s, he is excited to see what it contains  magic, witchcraft, the underworld and supernatural happenings. 

Fiction – Comedy – Unhappily Ever After, by Lucinda E Clarke61nwkh6jnpl-2

Fairyland is in chaos. A non-politically correct tale much closer to the truth than anything you have ever seen on the movies.

 

Fiction – Other – What Once Went Wrong, by Tom E Hodden51ctpzdhybl

George has just six months to live, and no chance of a happy ever after. At least not for himself. 

 

Non Fiction  I am Cancer Free, by Brenda Mohammed51wvibaptl-_sx322_bo1204203200_

A most touching and emotional true story of the author’s battle with Ovarian cancer.

 

 

But… who is the overall winner with the most votes?

Watch this space for the announcement shortly….

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An Incomplete Gentleman, by T.E. Hodden

T.E. Hodden has written a heartwarming contemporary romance story with ‘An Incomplete Gentleman. This is certainly an easy read, one that can be read in a few hours, which would suit the casual reader or those looking for a light-hearted and touching story.51f6autuxel

Not your traditional romance story, Ben is seemingly the underdog when it comes to relationships. Always the friend but never the lover; he’s a good guy. The characters in this story were well crafted, making the reader truly invest in them, and delivering a well-rounded story that isn’t just about the two main protagonists and their plight for love.

I found myself vying for Ben to get the girl, and the author cleverly keeps you hanging, always unsure of whether he will or he won’t. The ending itself had me almost in tears, with a gut wrenching turn of events that left me thinking about the book and looking to see if there was another in this series. I was pleased to see book number two (A Wintered Heart) available now.

I would certainly recommend this book to anyone looking for an emotive, enjoyable and romantic read.

It is currently on Kindle for 99c – a bargain if you ask me!

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Super Speed Sam – Just in time for Xmas

As a children’s author myself, I’ve been fortunate to meet many other authors within the same genre, which allows me the opportunity to appreciate the imagination and talent that goes into writing for a younger audience. Monty J McClaine is no exception. His series, ‘Super Speed Sam’, is about a special basset hound named Sam who lives with the McClaine family.

As I’ve followed this series, I’ve been incredibly impressed by the author’s imagination, as well as the way he interweaves a lovely message for families into every story.004_CFWM_Kindle_US_UK5Star_

Come Fly With Me, is the fourth book in the Super Speed Sam series and author’s imagination really comes through in this fun, adventure fantasy where Molly (the young girl in the family) and Sam are both transformed into flies. As they both buzz around the house, trying to avoid being ‘swatted’, I can see parents and children both laughing and becoming quite excited by the story line in this story.

I also had the opportunity to read an early copy of Santa’s Rescue Dog which will be released shortly. Children will love this Christmas special about Super Speed Sam, especially as it tells of how Super Speed Sam came to get his special powers in the first place. The story is full of fun and fantastical drama, which will keep children wanting to read more. Parents and children alike will enjoy this adventure, as they seek to find out if Santa can get out of his ‘jam’, if the Reindeer will fall peril to a big grizzly bear, and what will happen to Christmas if Santa cannot deliver his presents…005_SRD_Kindle_US_UK_5Star

The Super Speed Sam series is a great bedtime read with children, or ideally placed towards middle school readers. Monty J McClaine has struck a winner with this fun, family themed series about a pet dog with superpowers!

Check out the other books in the Super Speed Sam series on Amazon.

The Many Hats of an Author…

I’ll admit that after submitting my first book for publication I was naïve. I thought you just had to be a good writer to be a successful author. Wrong!

Being an author is not just putting clever words to paper and then waiting for those royalties to start flooding in. No not at all. There is so much more to this world than many can even fathom to understand.

An author needs to be Internet savvy.

Get yourself a website, a blog, and establish your online presence through different social dfrow-blog-how-to-wear-a-hat-for-your-face-shape-oval-660x400media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. What I’ve found is that readers want to know you – the person behind the book. A book just doesn’t sell on its own, so as an author you need to build your profile, and not in a ‘buy my book’ way. There is a delicate balance between promoting your book, and interacting with others, blogging, commenting and networking. ‘Buy my book’ gets boring, as I have quickly learned, so we need to mix it up with clever ways to build out the author profile, grow followers and establish a strong network that will help cross promote.

Find your audience and market yourself.

Now, I’m certainly not a trained marketer, and neither are many of my author connections. Nonetheless, we have had to learn quickly the tips and techniques to different marketing strategies for our books. Depending on your book’s genre, its about targeting your audience, finding out where they buy your type of book, and getting in there. Sounds easy right? Well it’s much harder than you’d expect. It takes time, dedication and determination.

Some of my learnings so far:

  • Get the right reviews, and promote what people are saying about your book.
  • Read and review other books in your genre (and blog them)
  • Cross-promote with other authors – there are enough readers in the world for all of us, and we should support not compete against each other.
  • Enter awards, promotion deals and get your book on as many sites as possible
  • Be wary of quick and cheap promotion sites – they may not deliver or will do so with tactics that may not be in your book’s best interests
  • Seek advice, counsel and support from other authors. Look at their successes and learn from them.
  • Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there – book signings, magazine interviews, guest blogs and anything where possible if you are offered.

With the world of self-publishing becoming much more accessible to individual writers, it is important to ensure your voice is heard above the noise. Sometimes it is just one thing, and your book hits a trigger that sparks an influx of interest and sales. I say, take that spark and keep it alight. Most of all, have fun, enjoy the journey and don’t lose hope. Every day offers a new opportunity and a new reader to inspire.

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