Getting Perspective

No, I haven’t gone into hiding, and no I’m not working on an amazing new book project. I’m just taking some time to get some perspective.

Since 2015 I have published fifteen books!  Three memoirs, eight children’s books (some of which I had written many years before), three anthologies and a paranormal thriller I co-wrote with two other independent authors. Not a bad effort given I also hold a full-time career outside of my writing and I’ve become a first-time mum over the past twelve months. It’s been a little crazy but that’s what I love about my life – it’s literally non-stop.

So now I want to get some time to really look at what I’ve published, and focus on ways to ensure that these stories widen their readership.

So far, I’ve enjoyed hearing the feedback from my readers, I enjoy the following I’ve had across the different genres, and rather than flooding the market with more Rachel McGrath stories, I look forward to seeing where else my existing stories can go.

I’ve thoroughly loved this journey so far as a new author, exploring my writing and spreading my wings into self-publishing.  I’ve learned a lot about myself, met some incredibly talented authors, and I’ve even published two projects which are purely charitable projects, with any royalties being donated.  For me, being an author is not just an avenue to make money, it’s an opportunity to connect with readers, and personally it’s been an intense self-discovery journey.  

As I reflect and look at where I want to take my writing, I remind myself that I have time. There is no hurry to get my next ‘book’ out there. In fact, as I seek perspective on my path as an author, I find myself wondering what type of author I want myself to be. What genre? What audience? How far do I really want to take this?  How much am I willing to invest in this? Both in money and time?

If I truly want to become a serious author, I need to put more of myself into my writing than ever before. I need to become fully invested in my work and my readers. It needs to be more than just a hobby, it needs to be a part of me.

I’ve observed those authors who have experienced great success with their works – their bestselling status, awards and readership. I can see what they put in, and I know that they don’t let themselves down by taking short cuts.  Their reward is their continuous flow of new readers discovering their books. These talented and dedicated authors are my inspiration to pursue my writing path again in the future.

Nonetheless, for now I will take my time, gain perspective, and focus on what I have achieved so far. This journey will continue, as the stories continue to build inside my imagination. Where they will end up is still to be decided…

The Possibilities are Limitless

Some may say I’ve had writer’s block for the past several months. However, I say that I have been on a pause with my writing. Returning to work following maternity leave, and having a toddler (now just 12 months old) my life already takes a lot of my energy, and I find that my inspiration is lacking at the end of the day when things do quieten down.

However, as I read the newspapers and watch the daily news, I’m saddened by many of the events happening around our world. As I watch death, destruction and hardship across these communities and families, I feel helpless to the plight of these victims of war and terrorism.  That is when my inspiration for Limitless came to light.

I may not have the political or social power to support these communities, but I can make a difference; we can all make a difference. Through love, hope and tolerance, the possibilities are LIMITLESS. That is the tagline of the project I started earlier this year: an anthology of short stories and poems that would be written by myself and other passionate writers; collated together into one publication, and made available on eBook and paperback worldwide. The commitment was that all profits would be donated to a charity that supports victims of war.  But which one?

I wanted to ensure that we could choose a charity that really makes a difference. One with a strong reputation, and who would of course be willing to partner with us on this project of passion.

AMAR is an award-winning charity that works in the Middle East, in areas of conflict and instability, and focusing on rebuilding the lives of victims of war.  This year the AMAR foundation celebrates its 25th year anniversary, so what better reason to choose such an amazing charitable organisation.

Over the past few months we received a wonderful selection of entries from writers and poets who were also passionate about being part of this anthology. Stories about love, hope and tolerance, both fiction and non-fiction. The process of shortlisting the stories and prose was difficult, but we are now very pleased to have the final list of talented authors who will be a part of Limitless.

Limitless is now available on eBook for pre-order with its official release date as 31 October 2017. It will be available on paperback as well.  I truly believe there is something in this anthology for everyone, and for the small price of an eBook or paperback, you can make a difference too!

Purchase Limitless on Amazon here.

Make a direct donation to the AMAR foundation here.

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 [email protected] 









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.

Enter your email to be in the running for your free signed copy now!

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Adult books

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:


with his book



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


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….


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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