Category Archives: Blogs by Rachel McGrath

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 Kulow513ybdwobl
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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When Indies Unite…

As an independent author, in a world where there are literally billions of books, finding your voice and visibility can be challenging.

But, what if independent authors joined forces, created one voice and united in their efforts to build credibility, visibility and readership. This was a question posed on one of the author forums I’ve joined, and from there the ball got rolling.13962590_2072535112970833_4125606326806642410_n

Rather than relying on individual efforts to get visibility for our respective books through social media platforms, we have proposed that we form a membership, focused on showcasing our books in a way that presents us as professional group of authors. We want to leverage each other, create hype, interest and discussion about our work, in a way that will build a good readership following.

Will this work? Time will only tell… but surely there is more power in unity and allegiance.

Therefore, we are introducing Indies United and any author is welcome to apply to become a member. There will be a small monthly financial commitment, which will be used to leverage promotions in a professional format. We will also be asking for input and a commitment from members to share in the efforts to cross promote the groups efforts, and the group owners will commit to ensuring that there is are regular promotional activities on behalf of all authors.

If you are an author and you are interested in finding out more, please complete the form in the link below and someone from the team will get back to you shortly.

Complete your query here…

Over time, we aim to make Indies United a major name in book publishing, and we hope to build attendance at book fairs and other literary events.

How Do You Price your eBook or Paperback?

For self-published authors there is a fine balance between looking to get your work out there for your readers and the ambition to make a profit.

Many self-published authors use the services of Createspace, KDP or Smashwords to get their book published – easy enough platforms that instantly ensure your book is loaded up with major retailers online. That’s the easy part…now you need to reach an audience who wants to buy your book. So what about the pricing?
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There is such a disparity between quality of work and price when it comes to eBooks and Paperbacks. What is a good price, for all that time spent writing, editing, creating, getting publish ready. Selling a book for 0.99c (less than a coffee) reaps a royalty payment of around 0.35c on an eBook – yet many readers want the quick bargain and it does help get your book quickly out there! But will you sell enough to get a return on your basic investment?

On the opposite end, I see eBooks advertised for $5.99 and above and paperbacks reaching upwards of $20.00 USD. As an avid reader, that is a hefty price to pay – especially for those authors you have never read or heard of before. Yet, I understand and appreciate that even at those prices, the royalties are still minimal per book.

So do you sell more at the lower price and make less, or keep your book high but sell less (if any at all)?

Having researched a little bit further into this – my best advice is to check out your competition. Who are the top authors in your genre, and what is the top ranking book selling at? Like any product, you need to be competitive. You don’t see Coke and Pepsi with major differences in their pricing mechanisms – and so authors need to have this same savvy when pricing their books.

Look at books in your genre, their page count, content, reviews and try to get as close as possible to their pricing. Or perhaps even look at ways to attract readers to one of your books to hook them into your writing. Countdown deals and free promotions are good opportunities, but I’ve also seen mixed results. It’s a constant battle and one that any independent author needs to proactively manage if they want to attract new readers.

As I tell everyone, this is not a ‘get rich quick scheme’ and the worst thing that we could do is have our readers not even bother looking at the synopsis because our pricing turns them off.

McGrath House Indie Book Awards

Launching the McGRATH HOUSE INDIE BOOK AWARDS 2016

Nominate your favourite author now for one of the book categories.McGrath House Award Logo

This is a great opportunity to recognise your favourite Independent Author and their work.

Nominations will be accepted until 30 September 2016.

Finalists will be announced 14th October and a voting process will decide the top in each category. The winner from each category will receive a $10 USD Amazon voucher.

An overall winner will also be announced across all Categories. The overall winner will be awarded a $50 USD Amazon voucher.

More than anything, this is a great way to showcase the work of some great writers and discover new books.

NOMINATE YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR – CLICK HERE

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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. June Service 2012

Get yourself a website, a blog, and establish your online presence through different social media 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.

Taking the Plunge to Publish

As an author or writer, taking that first step to getting yourself published is certainly a big decision. I remember writing many pieces of work, but shelving them away, or thinking that if they weren’t accepted by the ‘big name’ publishers that I should just bin them.

The reality is, that if you are not represented by an agent, or mostly if you fall into the thousands of other manuscripts submitted to big publishers, you’ll be waiting forever to get your first publishing contract. Nowadays, self-publishing is a great avenue for aspiring authors but having now ventured down that avenue it’s not one to jump into without doing your proper research. Critiques can be cruel and positioning your book correctly from the very beginning is the key to starting off your success as a published author!

What do you want from being published?
I wish I could tell you otherwise, but writing will not get you rich quick. For me it was about having my work recognised and enjoyed by readers, and my books are growing steadily, but not without a continued personal effort. Think about why you want your book published, who your ideal audience would be and how committed you are to your book’s continued promotion and success.

Proof reading and editing your work
It is so easy to think that reading and editing your own work would be suffice, but my strong advice is to get a third party to edit it. Personally I pay for editing, however it is an outlay that many would prefer to avoid, so if you can get someone you trust who can be objective, and has a good grasp of grammar, spelling etc. It’s the small mistakes that distract readers from your story, and can lead to poor reviews.

Getting the right cover and promotion material
You want your book to stand out and be noticed. You want potential readers to want to buy your book on the first view. So make sure you spend time getting the cover right (colours, graphics, style) as well as an enticing blurb and other promotional material. Do a cover reveal, get a book trailer and post to your social media channels. Get the word out there that your book is coming and get people excited about it before they’ve even read the first line!

Getting it right on Kindle or eBook formats
With e-Readers offering much more convenience than paperback and reachability all over the world, why wouldn’t you publish your book electronically? However, be warned, the formatting is tricky, and can sometimes lead to compatibility issues for readers, again distracting them from the true essence of your story. My advice is do your research, spend the time getting it right, and if you’re not sure, ask someone who can help. There are many authors out there who have tried, tested and learned from their own mistakes, and will be very willing to support and help you succeed.

Connecting and marketing your work
I met an author recently who told me he hates social media and refuses to engage with it. Big mistake! The World Wide Web is your key connection to the world, and whilst it takes a lot of effort, it will help you connect and network with other authors, and spread the word about your book. So don’t be afraid, set up a Facebook page for your profile, try out Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Whilst they aren’t the only channels they certainly help and I’ve made most of my sales through these channels with people I’ve never met in person.

Marketing is the key to your book’s success; you need to be prepared to find opportunities and avenues to reach new audiences.

Enjoy this journey, be passionate about your writing, and use it as a connection point with other authors and readers. This is a brilliant community to be a part of!

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The 50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading (2016)

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As an author you write to be heard, to entertain and to reach a broad audience through your stories and creativity. When that work is recognised publicly it is an amazing and gratifying feeling.

I’m excited to say that two of my books have been included out of thousands of entries and nominations in the final 50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading (2016)

Firstly, MUD ON YOUR FACE – a children’s fantasy novel aimed at middle school readers, filled with great illustrations and a story that brings home family values – ranked number EIGHT out of the top fifty.

Secondly, TORTURED MINDS – a psychological thriller written in compilation with Grant Leishman and Colin Griffiths and a new release – ranked at number TWELVE!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote and register your support!

The Business of Writing

Many a writer could easily believe that getting a book published would quickly result in a flurry of sales and interest from the general public.

Unfortunately, that is not the reality.

Being a writer is an art of passion, and for me personally, it releases the creativity and ideas that bottle up inside my head. I had ambitions however to develop my writing into something that could be made public; a story that would be read, known and talked about. To do this, I needed to build a following.

Nothing is simple.

What I found is that there is an entrepreneurial side to writing that many new authors underestimate. I certainly did! I quickly needed to put myself out there; and that was a frightening thought. The ‘what ifs’ start to arise as my work was released into the wide open world, and I tentatively waited for that first bout of feedback on my story, my writing, and its public appeal.

Confidence is key . . .

It is about finding the right audience, targeting your work aptly and listening to your readers. Criticism is expected, and broad shoulders are necessary for survival; any business owner should expect that.

Being an author is like owning your own business.

Your writing is your pride and joy, something you have worked on for a great length of time, and most likely put your heart and soul into every typed page. Suddenly, you are at the hands of your consumer, and the control feels like it is slipping away.

So take back the control! business-writing

Connect and grow your network, push yourself outside of your comfort zone, and use your creativity to build visibility for your work in different ways. Develop your author brand! Get comfortable with social media, and join online and community groups to broaden your reach. Anyone who starts a business will say that their first year is the toughest, but the rewards are fruitful when the hard work pays off.

Hence, I am reinventing myself as an entrepreneurial author and I’m embracing the business of writing!