All posts by Rachel McGrath

The 2017 Overall Winner

The Lizard in a Blizzard by Stephen Evans

After hundreds of entries, which were reviewed by a selected panel of judges, followed by almost three months of public voting, we have counted all the votes and selected the one book who receive the most votes overall across all genres!

This year’s overall winner of the

2017 McGrath House Independent Book Award

is the creative and colourful children’s story, The Lizard in a Blizzard by Stephen Evans, and illustrated by Mic Ru.

This is a lovely story that will delight young children and parents alike. A story of friendship, as a Lizard, caught in the extreme temperatures of a blizzard, and a kindly sheep-dog who forms a friendship and saves the day.

Stephen will receive our special glass award trophy in recognition of his achievement.  Please join us in congratulating Stephen and his book on this great success.

The McGrath House Independent Book Awards will be open again in early 2018 for nominations. If you would like to be first to know about these awards, please subscribe to this website.

 

Congratulations to the WINNERS

McGrath House is very pleased to be announcing the winners for each of the genre categories for the 2017 McGrath House Independent Book Awards!

Overall, we received hundreds of nominations across the genres, and our panel of judges were able to made a selection of four to five books per genre for the final round of voting. Over the past three months we have invited voting from readers and supports to select their favourite book in each genre category.

The Genre Winners are the books with the most votes in their respective categories. Each of the winners will receive by post an Award Certificate, as well as a logo which they can place on their books to celebrate their success and recognition as an award-winning book!

The voting was very close, and it was clear all books selected as finalists were popular with strong following. Therefore, we are very pleased to announce the following winners in each of the categories!

 

Fiction Children’s – The Lizard in the Blizzard by Stephen Evans

Fiction – Horror / Paranormal – The Good Teacher by Lorraine Carey

Fiction – Thriller / Suspense – Waypoint by C.F. Waller

Fiction – Romance – Timing is Everything by Sybil Shae

Fiction Historical – My Lonely Room by John A. Vikara

Fiction – Contemporary – The Maidstone Conspiracy by James Osborne

Fiction – Sci Fi / Fantasy – Souls Asunder by Miranda Brock

Fiction – Humour / Comedy – Ripped Tide by Lance Carney

Non-Fiction – Bedpans to Boardrooms by Sarah Jane Butfield

 

All winners will be contacted separately by McGrath House to confirm their winning status! We would like to again congratulate all the finalists and the winners for their great work within the independent author community!

But wait there’s more…

There will be ONE OVERALL WINNER announced in the coming days. This is the one book who has received the most votes overall across all genres. Please stay tuned to updates from McGrath House so we can celebrate the 2017 OVERALL McGRATH HOUSE INDEPENDENT BOOK AWARD WINNER!

Announcing the FINALISTS

This year we had a great response to the McGrath House Independent Book Awards!

With hundreds of entries across multiple categories, the panel of judges have now made the tough selection of our finalists. This year we have four to five finalists in each genre and we are now opening up the final stage selection to the public for voting!

You can help us decide on the overall winner for each genre!

Click here to vote for the FINALISTS

Voting closes 31 October 2017 and the winners for each genre will be announced in November. Winners will receive an official award certificate.

In addition, the one book who receives the most votes will be awarded the OVERALL 2017 McGRATH HOUSE INDEPENDENT BOOK AWARD WINNER receiving an official glass trophy to commemorate their success!

Congratulations to all the finalists and Good Luck!

Fiction – Children’s

 

 

 

Fiction – Thriller / Suspense

 

 

 

Fiction – Historical

 

 

 

Fiction – Comedy

 

 

 

 

Fiction – Contemporary

 

 

 

Fiction – Horror / Paranormal

 

 

 

Fiction – Sci Fi / Fantasy
Fiction – Romance

 

 

Non Fiction

Running Out of Steam?

Sometimes being a published author can be exhausting. I often get asked, ‘how are your book sales?’ and my answer really depends on different times of the year as well as my involvement in book marketing activities. When you take your foot off the pedal you see the results slowing, but sometimes keeping your foot on the pedal can be overwhelming.

As an author, like any product, you need to be in front of your readers periodically. New books are being released daily, and the best sellers list changes rapidly. With so many books on the market to choose from, how can I make sure my book stays on the radar. This is a question I’m constantly asking myself.
The process feels literally like a treadmill that never stops.

• Sometimes your efforts feel like they are making no difference.
• Sometimes it feels all too familiar – unsure of whether you are really reaching a difference audience
• Sometimes you feel bored of just doing the same thing – over and over again
• Sometimes you want to try something different – but you’re not sure how to start
• Sometimes you just want time out, and you need a break from it all (have a glass of wine)

Like anything, if you do the same thing day in and day out, results will naturally start to waiver. What I will say is that creativity is key, for your own sanity as well as for the benefit of attracting new and different readers. Find different ways of positioning your book – use review quotes, different cover angles, highlight awards and achievements, a part of the story line that will capture attention. Marketing is about creating angles that will capture attention, finding an interested audience that may not have seen or heard of your book before, and more importantly, creating a following.

Learn from others, seek advice and even join forces with other authors to help your campaign. Sometimes it feels lonely out there on your own, and the treadmill can be much more enjoyable if you have a companion.

Enter your book in the McGrath House Indie Book Awards

McGrath House has a New Friend!

Many of you who have followed McGrath House and the books affiliated will appreciate how passionate we are about supporting new and independent authors.

The journey to become an author in the big wide world of online book sales can be lonely and unless you make author friends, it can be quite fruitless. The key to my success has been through the strong networks I’ve built across the author community.

Grant Leishman,  a fellow independent author and the recipient of the first McGrath House Independent Book Awards, is also passionate about this same quest.

So it therefore made sense that we join forces, and put our learnings, experiences and networks together in an effort to help other authors on their journey through publishing and promoting their work.

So we – Grant Leishman and Rachel McGrath – are very pleased to join together, using our expertise to help writers get published, and making that journey to become an author just a little bit easier.

For more information visit our pages, or contact us directly.  We are here for the independent author community.

Is your book an AWARD WINNER?

The McGrath House Indie Book Awards 2017 is now open for entries! For the second year running, these awards are focused on recognising excellence across the independent author community.

Sponsored by McGrath House, entrants will be accepted until 27th August 2017. All books entrants will be judged and up to three finalists will be selected and open to public voting to select the overall winners for each genre.
All genre winners will receive a certificate in the post and will be able to use the McGrath House Winner logo for use on their book covers and any marketing material.

In addition, an overall winner will be selected across all entries, and will receive a glass engraved trophy as the ultimate prize.

Why Enter?

Winning a book award demonstrates is a great opportunity to showcase your book as an ‘award winner’.

You and your book will also be featured across all social media activities by McGrath House.

Key Dates?

Deadline for entries – 27th August 2017 – $1.00 USD processing fee
Voting commences – 1st October 2017 – 30 November 2017
Winners announced – December 2017

How to Enter?

Simply click on the link to enter your book’s details.
Please note that a $1.00 USD processing fee applies for all entrants.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Good luck!

Who’s Following You?

One thing I’m still continuing to understand as an author, is how to build a large following of readers. There are so many channels where you can reach a new range of readers: email lists, Facebook likes, Instagram and Twitter follows to name a few. What I also do is research and observe other authors, I watch those who’s following seems to increase with pace and substance, and I try to understand what they are doing so that I can continually learn and develop my own following as a result.

Do they pay for services to help build their following, do they pay for software that can automate their messages or are they just continually active on all social media channels and actively finding opportunities to create interest in a broad audience? The answer is probably yes, to at least one or two of these questions.

Whatever the answer, there is a commitment to building that following and it is something that clearly links to sales and book performance.

So do authors really need to become marketers to be successful?

Of course! Even if you are lucky enough to have a good publisher with an established reputation, readers are investing in your books and you as the author. If you want them to follow your work, they need to see a piece of you as a part of that package. Learning about how to build your public author image on social media is probably the very first thing you need to do as a new author. Then you need to make sure that the public find your profile.

Another valuable piece of advice someone gave me at the very start of my own author journey was that you cannot just keep posting about your own book. That gets boring and will quickly turn your following away. As an author you need to find ways to communicate different aspects of your writing story, your book, your interests and perhaps even other books you read and enjoy. Readers want to see who is behind the book, and they want to find interest in what you do and think. Just posting ‘buy my book’ won’t help your cause.

It was that advice alone that prompted me to set up my author website, make my book reviews part of my blog, and to just write my thoughts and experiences in different blog posts. It was all new to me at the start, but as I started to build a rhythm around my posts and I received comments and notes from people all over the world, I knew that this was my way of connecting to my readers and building a platform to attract a wide audience.

Essentially, every author is different, and my advice is to find ways to market yourself that you are comfortable with and go for it. Tell your story, but in a different way; a way that will bring readers to your book and following your future publications with anticipation.

Good luck and go for it!

Receive these posts first!

LIMITLESS – Your chance to be published!

I’m so very excited to be a part of an exciting new project with a great group of independent authors who are committed to making a difference in the world through their written word!

LIMITLESS
The possibilities are ‘limitless’ when you have love, friendship and tolerance.
* * * * *
We want to showcase both true and fictional stories and poems in a very special anthology that will be produced with the aim to provide all profits towards the AMAR foundation via our own LIMITLESS site on Justgiving.com.

A cause that is incredibly important today, as AMAR is an award-winning charity that works in the Middle East to help millions rebuild their lives in countries scarred by war.

We will have contributions from published authors all around the world on this exciting new project. The aim is to select a variety of short stories and poems from the entries who will become a part of this important collection!

All finalist winners will have their short stories and poetry published on both paperback and kindle throughout a worldwide distribution channel. You will also receive your very own eBook copy of the final publication. The anthology will also include your individual biography and you will also have your name highlighted as a key contributor and author for this project.

* * * * *

    Key Dates and Entry Requirements:

Your stories or poems should be either fiction or non-fiction based around the subject of love, friendship and/or tolerance.
Short stories are required to be a minimum of 2000 words and a maximum of 5000 words.
Entries should be submitted in MS Word format (.doc), with line spacing of 1.5 and font size 12.
To submit your entry please use the form link.
SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY HERE

* * * * *

Deadline for entries is 31 July 2017
Judging between 1st to 31st August 2017

Winners announced in the Read My Mind Winter Edition released 4th December 2017
Publication of the Anthology is anticipated in advance of the Read My Mind Winter edition on 4th October 2017!

For any enquires please contact McGrath House (contributor to Read My Mind Magazine)

Network! Don’t Compete!

Too many times I see authors competing against one another to the point where it is not healthy. The very first thing I learned on my publishing journey was that I need other authors to help me be successful. Other authors are certainly not my competition. In many ways, they are my bread and butter, as they are often the first to pick up and read my work, and they help me with feedback, advice and guidance on how to ensure my book reaches more readers.

Therefore, author-to-author, I encourage you to get to know a network of authors; respect them, learn from them and build a friendship with them.

I watch in surprise at times as authors play themselves against other authors, or write far too critical reviews for the public to read, or even worse, openly put down other author’s work. This is not a game; many authors are doing this for their living. We are not all perfect, and we will never like the same things in life. However, we should appreciate talent and passion. Like an artist, we have our taste in the style and genre of any piece of work. The same goes for writing. If we all enjoyed the same things, life would be pretty boring!

And why should we compete?

Think about it … there are millions of readers in the world. There are now different ways people can now access books: paperback, eBook, and audio books. So what makes us (as an author) think we can dominate the ‘entire’ market on our own?

Fact: we can’t! So don’t even try.

As an author, my publicity, word of mouth, readership, reviews and more have all come primarily from the author community and then it’s grown from there. Without that author community I would literally be a lone soldier trying to get my book out there into the wide world of readers. With the help of my author friends, I have expanded my readership, built a community of support and surprisingly, I’ve even made some friends.

What I’m saying here, is network. Network the hell out of your author networks, either through social media, book fairs and events, or any other available avenues. Introduce yourself, your book and your genres. Get to know the author behind the book.

Personally, what has been amazing on my own author journey, is that I have met a group of authors who are incredibly talented and write in genres I may not have picked up in those mainstream stores. Through these connections we support, promote and help each other on our journey to building our readership. Even more, I call these authors my friends. Some of them, I have never even met, but they are incredibly important now to my life, and I could not do this without them.

At the end of the day, it’s another person to talk to, albeit online or over social channels, but it is a connection that will help you on your journey as a published author. Sometimes, we need to admit we cannot do it all alone!

Have you entered the McGrath House Indie Book Awards? More information here.

Getting your Book Noticed!

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!