Authors know how difficult it is to build a following of loyal readers and to gently persuade those readers to review their book once they’ve read it. To help redress that, August 2016 has been decreed Write An Amazon Review Month! By @TerryTyler4 #AugustReviews and we’re going to do our bit to help.
On Monday 25th July, book blogger Rosie Amber wrote this post encouraging readers and writers alike to post a short review on Amazon for any book they’ve read and enjoyed ~ following this up, Terry Tyler is starting this initiative along with other writer-bloggers including Rosie, Cathy from Between The Lines, Barb Taub, Shelley Wilson and Alison Williams. The idea is that, from August 1st, everyone who reads this uses their Amazon account to post just one review on one book that they’ve read (but feel free to carry on if you get in the swing!). You don’t even have to have read it recently, it can be any book you’ve read, any time. The book does not have to have been purchased from Amazon, though if it is you get the ‘Verified Purchase’ tag on it; however, if you download all your books via Kindle Unlimited, as many do these days, they don’t show the VP tag, anyway.
Remember, this isn’t the Times Literary Supplement, it’s Amazon, where ordinary people go to choose their next £1.99 Kindle book. No one expects you to write a thousand word, in-depth critique; I don’t know about you, but I’m more likely to read one short paragraph or a couple of lines saying what an average reader thought of a book, than a long-winded essay about the pros and cons of the various literary techniques used. Yes, those are welcome too (!), but no more so than a few words saying “I loved this book, I was up reading it until 3am”, or “I loved Jim and Vivien and the dialogue was so realistic”, or whatever!
Why should you write a review?
- They help book buyers make decisions. Don’t you read the reviews on Trip Advisor before deciding on a hotel, or any site from which you might buy an item for practical use? Book reviews are no different
- If the book is by a self-published author, or published by an independent press, the writers have to do all their promotion and marketing themselves ~ reviews from the reading public is their one free helping hand
- The amount of reviews on Amazon helps a book’s visibility (allegedly). If you love a writer’s work and want others to do so, too, this is the best possible way of making this happen
- It’s your good deed for the day, and will only take five minutes
Off we go, then! A few more pointers:
- If you need any help with writing your review, do click on Rosie’s post, above.
- A review can be as short as one word. The shortest one I have is just two 🙂
- You don’t have to put your name to the review, as your Amazon ‘handle’ can be anything you like.
- No writer expects all their reviews to be 5* and say the book is the best thing ever written; there is a star rating guide on Rosie’s post.
Would you like to tell the Twittersphere about your review? If so, tweet the link to it with the hashtag #AugustReviews ~ and thank you!
One last thing . . . New Romantics Press’s latest venture is a tapas selection of our work. It is available on Kindle and is FREE to download this weekend and 99p thereafter. We think it gives you a real flavour of our writing and hopefully will bring our books to the attention of new readers. You can download it here.
Three years and a couple of months ago the New Romantics Press (NRP) – Adrienne Vaughan, Lizzie Lamb, Mags Cullingford and June Kearns ‒ was born. Huddled together in the backroom of a village pub in the wilds of rural Leicestershire, trembling with fear and trepidation, four fledgling authors – having met through the RNA and all on the New Writers’ Scheme ‒ launched themselves on the world.
Dozens of book launches, blogs, newspaper reports, radio interviews and videos later, we’ve embraced each and every element of what being an author in today’s multi-media environment entails; standing shoulder-to-shoulder, through drafts, edits, rewrites and great big gaping holes of self-confidence. And still, what remains at the very essence is our passion to tell our stories our way.
Ten acclaimed novels ‒ hundreds of reviews, award nominations and a best seller ‒ later, the dream is a reality and the greatest reward is still when someone says. “I loved your book, when is the next one coming out?”
Here’s a quick update as we hunker down into 2016 …
Lizzie’s debut Tall, Dark and Kilted, was swiftly followed by Boot Camp Bride and having launched her third novel, Scotch on the Rocks last July, there was ‘no rest for the wicked’ as it rocketed up the Amazon charts to reach No 1 in Scottish Romance! So it was head down as Lizzie ‘got busy’ with novel number four, This Highland Magic.
“I’m dreaming about hitting the road in 2016 with our caravan, computer, parrot and husband to research number four, so Highlands of Scotland, here I come. Our travels have become part of the writing process for me and I love the adventure, laughter and shared experiences of our trips, keeping us buoyed and enthused throughout the long winter months. I just know 2016 is going to be one of our best years ever!” Says Lizzie.
Mags’s first two novels, Last Bite of the Cherry and Twins of a Gazelle are definitely romance with edge and she will be the first to admit her writing errs on the darker side, with an undercurrent of tense, psychological drama heightening emotions.She is currently completing and polishing her, as yet, untitled third novel which features threatening letters, a fatal car accident and a private investigator and, knowing Mags, some deep, dark romance too.
Mags says, “I must confess although I love writing, I’m absolutely rubbish at marketing and promoting and it’s my readers reaction to my books – as well as my NRP comrades, chums in the RNA and my writer friends in general – who inspire me to keep going. My resolution for 2016 is to get to grips and improve on these necessary skills, at least once January is over. It’s not that I’m procrastinating but I do like to take a leaf out of our cat Tina’s book and for me January is the time for hibernating.”
June is our historical novelist and to date has written two fabulous novels, The Englishwoman’s Guide to the Cowboy and The 20’s Girl, both acclaimed as eloquent and stylish with clever twists and turns, and nods to fashion and music, two of June’s passions.
Now working hard on novel No 3 June admits to be a little awry with her New Year resolutions. “So far I haven’t started reading War and Peace nor stayed away from the choc-and-nuts – but I have been working on my third book, so that’s something!
Set in the early 1960s, it’s gathering pace and coming along nicely. I’m trying to pin down recollections of the time by trawling through old photographs (I had a waist!), tramping London streets and visiting our son in San Francisco last year (my story is set in both places). It’s all bringing back lots of lovely memories and inspiration. Fingers crossed, I’m hoping to publish at the end of this year.”
“I write romantic suspense and having trained as a journalist I love lifting the veil of celebrity to reveal what lies beneath the glitz. I set my characters against the elements and each other, taking readers to wild, romantic locations where literally anything can happen and it usually does!
My first three novels – never thought I’d be saying that – were well received, my debut The Hollow Heart shortlisted for a Reader Award at the Festival of Romantic Fiction, as was the follow-up A Change of Heart and then last November I was absolutely thrilled to learn Secrets of the Heart was shortlisted for a Love Reading Award, amazing! But no resting on laurels here, so last year saw me interviewing a friend’s daughter who dresses members of the cast of Downton Abbey and Strictly Come Dancing; poking around in military reference books and studying reports on plots to murder the Pope, as I started working on, Scandal of the Seahorse Hotel. I aim to have it completed by the end of January before sending to my fabulous mentor, June Tate – a dear friend who I met through the RNA – and who helps me edit and polish ahead of launching to the ‘waiting world’ (okay I made that last bit up!).
So 2016 looks as exciting as ever and it simply remains for us to thank you all for your continued support – we could NOT have done it with you.
Summer holidays exist to be savoured long after the local wine has been drunk (why does it never taste the same?) and the freckles have faded and it’s true, memories of happy times in sunnier climes keep us going through the January gloom.
I enjoyed many special times during the summer of 2015 ‒ precious family memories to treasure forever ‒ but I also did something ridiculously, extravagantly splurging and, yes I have to admit, totally self-indulgent! I took myself off to New York to the Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference and spent an entire week being something I’ve always wanted to be, an author in one of the most exciting cities on the planet. Now seriously, what’s not to like?
I’d barely mentioned the Romance Writers of America 35th anniversary conference in New York when a couple of lovely author chums, Katherine Garbera (US Today best seller) and Eloisa James (New York Times best seller) asked their mutual friend, Erin Fry, publications editor for the RWA, if I could tag along.
Erin did better than that, she organised a special press pass, so in the blink of an eye, having raided my ‘author’ piggy bank, I booked flights, hotel and was on my way!
The fabulous Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square was base camp for nearly 2000 delegates primed and eager to make the most of nearly 200 events/workshops/signings and 1-2-1s and of course, the fabulous RITAs and Golden Hearts Awards Ceremony. Delegates could start the day at 6.30am with Pilates and/or Romance Fit Club, followed by a networking breakfast and then straight into the action.
Some of my favourites included: ‘Bollywood Basics: Romance Tips from the World’s Largest Film Industry’; ‘How to Write Sexual Tension that will Knock Their Socks Off’; ‘Dead On, Writing ‘Killer’ Romantic Suspense’; ‘Staying Fit While You’re Writing’; and ‘Oops, the Publishing World Just Changed Again’.
I squeezed into Nora Roberts’ talk, acknowledged as the bestselling author on the planet, her ‘chat’ to a packed house was refreshing, honest and hilarious. Nora has written over 200 romance novels – thirty-four Nora Roberts’ titles are sold EVERY minute – she also writes suspense under the pen name J D Robbs, these titles sell pretty well too! Awesome.
During my trip I breakfasted at Simon & Schuster and had cocktails with the team at Hachette Book Group – mixing with writers, editors and agents, all asking lots of questions about the UK and how the market is here.
With the sun shining and so much to see, I took time to walk, New York is easy to navigate, the natives hospitable and happy to chat. Highlights included sunbathing in Central Park with pastrami salad and iced tea whilst reading Steven King’s On Writing; Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral where the celebrant’s singing was akin to Pavarotti and enjoying the movie The Longest Ride over brunch.
Fast forward to the conference finale, the glittering RITA and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony – and I was delighted to see Jo Beverley – a member of the RWA Hall of Fame – present the Golden Heart for Historical to Sara Leyton for her novel The Reunion. I was also delighted and very proud when our own Carole Mortimer received a Lifetime Achievement Award. She has written over 200 books, yet spoke so generously and warmly, she was just delightful.
As the evening came to a close, a gorgeous girl sitting next to me asked if I would take a picture of her and her English chum – turns out the best buddies were also bestsellers, Tasmina Perry and Bella Andre. A quick snap and Bella was whisked on stage to do her presentation, talk about hanging out with the VIPs!
The RWA conference was a real eye opener, a fascinating insight into the business of being an author and what it takes to succeed and New York itself, such a special, fairy tale kind of place for me, it really was an experience to savour. You never know, one day I may return but in the meantime I can dream … after all that’s what gloomy January days are for.
Three years ago this month New Romantics Press was born, huddled together in the backroom of a village pub in the wilds of rural Leicestershire. Trembling with fear and trepidation, four fledgling authors launched themselves on the world …
Dozens of book launches, blogs, reviews, newspaper reports, radio interviews and videos later, we’ve embraced each and every element of what being an author in today’s multi-media environment entails; standing shoulder to shoulder, through drafts, edits, rewrites and great big gaping holes of self-confidence…
Yet at the very essence our passion, our need to tell our stories our way, remains. The highlight of our journey so far? Holding a book launch in Waterstones, Kensington. That’s Kensington, London -in case you’re wondering. We were hoping that Dustin Hoffman (who regularly shops there) was going to turn up, but alas he was otherwise engaged.
Ten acclaimed novels later … the dream is a reality and the greatest reward? Every single time a reader says: “I loved your book, when is the next one coming out?”
Happy birthday sisters, fairy Godmothers one and all. Cue music: ‘Sisters Doing it For Themselves’, and exit stage left.
So what are we up to ATM?
Here’s our news, hot off the press . . .
Adrienne? “I’m currently working on my fourth novel, Scandal of the Seahorse Hotel, a contemporary Irish American romantic suspense, steeped in mystery from World War II.”
Lizzie? “I’ve started novel number four – working title: THIS HIGHLAND MAGIC. I hope to publish it on our fourth anniversary November 2016. No pressure, then. I have a heroine with a secret and gorgeous new hero who has his own demons to confront. I’m keeping him all to myself until then, ladies.”
Mags? “I’m currently working on novel number three (as yet, untitled). Here’s the blurb so far – After her mother’s fatal car accident, Lexie Neave receives four threatening anonymous letters. Private investigator Forbes’s brief is to identify the writer and discover what it is Lexie has that’s “valuable, very valuable; which by rights is mine”. Lexie hasn’t a clue. Forbes’s preliminary investigations convince him Lexie is in danger.”
June? “Until October this year, I’d been playing out scenes, progressing the story in my historical romance set in 1960’s London and San Francisco, (all going pretty well, I thought!) Then, I went back to SF, imagination took over and the story just went whizzing off in directions I hadn’t expected! So now, here I am – hanging on, getting it all down!”
So, it’s happy birthday to us and a big thank you to everyone who’s helped us on our way. Christmas is just around the corner and what could be better than to find a copy of one of our books in your Christmas stocking? Diamonds, you say? OK – we’re on the case.
Posted by newromantics4
An ‘Author Showcase? So what, you ask?
Friends, let us tell you that four indie authors hosting an Author Showcase in a one of Waterstones flagship London bookstores is no mean feat. It has required determination on our part and the belief and open mindedness of Waterstones to ‘take us on’. On top of that, we’ve produced eight quality novels with proven sales records and have demonstrated our ability to deliver a night no one will forget.
This Author Showcase is the culmination of a dream. One which began two summers ago over lunch with Amanda Grange in Lizzie’s garden. Our path to publication is well documented in our blog but on November the thirteenth we will have exceeded what we hoped to accomplish on that bright summer’s day.
- Written nine books between us
- Created joint and individual blogs
- Established a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest
- Hosted eight book launches
- Presented two literary lunches for over twenty five guests
- Fronted a Valentine’s Day event at Waterstones Market Harborough
- Been short listed for awards at Lit Festivals
- Appeared on writer panels telling others our road to publication
- Created a professionally edited video of us and our achievements
- All working to write, edit and publish our third/fourth novels in 2014 – 2015
There have been highs and lows on our journey. More highs than lows, overall, and we have kept moving forward. It’s been hard but rewarding work, but we have never lost sight of our main objective – to write the best novels we can and to share them with our expanding readership.
We see this Author Showcase as the culmination of that work and our dream. Thank you for sharing the journey with us.
As Sarah Taylor, awards organiser, says: “With the highest number of entries the awards have had in their four year history, the standard this year was exceptionally high with many highly rated novels not making the shortlists. The breath and depth of quality writing in romantic fiction should be celebrated and that’s what these awards are all about.”.You can read the complete lists for all categories here but this is the line up for Adrienne’s category:
Best Author Published
Mary Bennet by Kate Allan
Sweet Occasions by Linn B Halton
Drumbeats by Julia Ibbotson
Fairlights by Jan Jones
Christmas Yves by Nicola May
The award ceremony is at the Festival of Romantic Fiction on the evening of Saturday 13th September 2014 at Leighton Buzzard Theatre. There are many fabulous events happening at the Festival to interest readers and writers alike. . . .the book fair in Leighton Buzzard High Street from 10am to 3pm and the Traditional Afternoon Tea with the Authors at The Green House, Market Square, Leighton Buzzard. Adrienne will be attending all of these but especially the Awards ceremony in the evening, The other members of the New Romantics 4, sadly cannot attend this year – Lizzie is chasing men in kilts in the highlands of Scotland (all in the interests of research, of course). June is packing up thirty years of her life in boxes prior to moving house and Mags is putting the finishing touches to her second novel. But we all say to our darling Ade – break a leg, sweetie, you have worked so hard to complete your ‘HEART’ trilogy and deserve all the accolades you can win.
Here we are at last years Festival of Romance held in Bedford with all our gorgeous books on display. Hopefully, we’ll all be there next year with our third novels in tow.
Posted by newromantics4
To paraphrase President Obama, if you can’t get in through the front door, go round the back. If you can’t get in through the back – climb over the wall. This ideal has driven the New Romantics 4 forward in their quest to become published authors. And as a result, their novels became available on Amazon as kindle download and paperbacks last autumn.
They took this ideal a step further on Saturday 4th May when June and Lizzie drove over to Lincoln for the grand opening of Joff Gainey and Becky Lindley’s Bookstop Café, 47b Steep Hill, Lincoln. An indie author himself, Joff has opened the BookStop Café to provide an environment where book lovers can browse the wonderful selection of books written by indie authors and rest awhile, drink coffee and eat home made cake. Hopefully they will feel moved to purchase one of the excellent indie novels on display after reading the ‘shop copy’ as a taster.
The grand opening ceremony took place amidst loud cheers and applause, while inside the café a jazz band added to the carnival atmosphere. For the first three hours of the café’s opening, tea, coffee and cake were complimentary and the customers poured in.
Whilst writers rubbed shoulders with potential readers, Lizzie and June were happy to stand back and admire copies of Tall, Dark and Kilted, An Englishwoman’s Guide to the Cowboy, The Hollow Heart and Last Bite of the Cherry displayed on the back lit bookshelves next to Joff’s novel Sleeping on a Cloud.
To paraphrase Obama again – the front door was barred, we knocked loudly on the back door but nobody answered – so we’ve climbed over the wall and into Joff and Becky’s Bookstop Cafe. Indie authors and proud of it, the New Romantics 4 will be adding new titles to the bookshelves in autumn 2013.
Follow the Bookstop Cafe on TWITTER.
Please click on the links below to purchase one of our books: