Some exciting news!

Just over two weeks ago, on a normal Monday, I received an email. It’s the kind of email every author dreams of getting, but never imagines will happen to them.

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Three years ago I self published my first novel, Walls of Silence. Little did I know the hard work that would follow, the roller coaster of emotions as  the critical and complimentary reviews rolled in, the shock as I realised I would have to learn how to market my books as well as write them.

Since then I’ve published two middle-grade children’s books, three books in The Innocenti Saga, a historical fiction series, two books in the Maggie Dupont suspense series, a few short stories, and the Italian versions of most of my books. A great achievement in just three years.

But, like a lot of authors, I get frustrated at my inability to get my books in front of readers. I’ve joined many fantastic groups on Facebook, tried to follow their advice, and get nowhere. Amazon ads worked well for me last year, this year they’re a disaster. I read all the latest information, apply it, and…nothing.

I think many authors will agree with me that it’s like banging your head against a brick wall, only more painful. Years of hard work – yes, writing a book isn’t as easy as it looks, what with research, first drafts to tenth drafts (if you’re lucky), editing, proofreading, formatting, the list goes on. Sometimes it seems it’s all for nothing as you watch your book plummet down the rankings.

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The email I received was from Bloodhound Books, asking to read one of my books as they’d been following me and were interested in taking me on as one of their authors. To receive an email like that, when you’re mired in self doubt, is bloody amazing.

After I stopped dancing round the living room, I had the difficult choice of whether or not to accept. Difficult, because after three years as an indie author and having complete control over my work, I had to relinquish all of that. As my son pointed out, what would I do with all that spare time, now I could no longer check my KDP charts?!

I’m happy to announce that I accepted their three-book publishing contract, and am now a proud Bloodhound Books author. The hard work isn’t over yet, though – I now have three books to write, within a deadline. But I love a challenge!

This coming year is going to be exciting, and different, and interesting, and probably stressing at times, but it’s something I thought would never happen and I’m going to enjoy it as much as I can.

You can check out my author page at Bloodhound Books here.

There are some amazing books by indie authors out there, many of which deserve to be taken on by publishers. If you love reading, check out my reviews here on my blog and take a chance on any that you think you might like – you will definitely be surprised!

Newsletters!

Newsletters are a great way for authors and their readers to get to know each other better. We, the authors, can write about little snippets of our lives, or about our writing process, or even about our life failures, that we wouldn’t necessarily write about anywhere else, and you, the readers, can ask questions about our books, lifestyles, or anything really (within reason!).

I’ve now created two newsletters for my different author names, Helen Pryke and Julia E. Clements, where I’ll tell you what it’s really like to live in Italy, give you some behind the scenes info about my books and writing, and let you know if there are any great offers on books I’ve read and enjoyed in the same genre.

As you can see from the photo, if you sign up to the newsletter for Helen Pryke within the 31st October, you’ll be entered in a prize draw for paperback copies of both The Healer’s Secret and The Dragonfly Grove! But don’t worry, if you miss the deadline or don’t win, there’ll be more giveaways in the future.

If you sign up to the newsletter for Julia E. Clements, you’ll get a free ebook of Dreamland, which you can download after subscribing. Again, I’ll give some fun facts about my children’s books, what inspires me to write, and promos on other children’s books.

You won’t get inundated with newsletters – I’ll only send them out about once a month or so, unless I have some really exciting news to share! This is a) because I’m lazy, and b) because I have so many books I still need to write!!

You can sign up for Helen Pryke here.

And for Julia E. Clements here.

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Helen

Pink Quill Book Picks

On this blog, I only post reviews for books by indie authors that I’ve really enjoyed reading, and my ratings are always 4 or 5 stars. I’m honest in my reviews and point out the positive things about the books and what I liked. If I don’t finish a book, or I can’t give it at least 4 stars, then I don’t post a review here.

However, the one thing I see over and over again are books that haven’t been through a proofreader or an editor, and are full of spelling mistakes, incorrect words, and punctuation that’s either missing or used wrongly. Some of the most common are it’s instead of its, or vice-versa, reign instead of rein, ‘s for plurals, misplaced capital letters…the list goes on.

I know that no book is perfect (even traditionally-published books have typos!), and I find errors in my own books that I correct as soon as I notice them. But if I can give one word of advice to indie authors, it would be to get your books proofread, as a minimum, before publishing. If you shop around, you’ll find someone who will fit your budget – although always ask for recommendations, as cheap doesn’t mean good. I’m also a translator, as well as a writer, and I’ve had clients come to me with ‘translated’ documents I ‘just need to check over’ that would make you cry.

As you can see from the footer, I am also a proofreader – that isn’t why I’m writing this article. I also know a fantastic editor, Joanie Chevalier, who, like me, offers good-quality services at affordable prices for indie authors. (OK, plug over.) I’m writing this article to try and convince authors that getting their work proofread is an essential part of the publishing process, both for their reputation as a writer and for readers.

This year, I’ve decided to award a Pink Quill Book Pick badge to those books I read that are well-written and well-edited, with a minimal amount of typos and errors. I’ve awarded two so far, and I hope to be giving many more during the year!

Whether you’re an author or a reader, what do you think?

 

Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater

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My review for Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater, 5/5 stars.
For more information about the Pink Quill Book Pick badge, click here.

This is another horror writer who has branched out into different genre, and yet again I was bowled over by this book. I’m a self-confessed Star Trek/Doctor Who geek, with a bit of Alien thrown in as well, which is probably why I loved it so much!

Lost Solace has an action-packed story line that doesn’t let you pause for breath, a flawed, female protagonist who you can’t help liking, and a ship AI that seems almost human. For most of the book, these two are the only characters as the story plays out in real time, but their interactions and dialogue are so cleverly written that you don’t even notice.

Even though we don’t know anything about Opal at the beginning, her strong character, sense of humour, and moral judgement shine through immediately. We join the story as Opal, having hacked the onboard AI and given it the name and voice of Clarissa, an unknown person who we learn about at the end, is about to go aboard the Lost Ship in search of…something. But things don’t seem right on the ship, and Opal has the feeling she is not alone.

The tension throughout the book is unrelenting, and keeps you turning the pages. I have read several of Karl’s horror stories, and he is definitely the master of keeping you on the edge of  your seat! The ending leaves a few unresolved questions, which I hope will be answered in the next book! Well written and well edited, with a beautiful cover as well, I highly recommend this book.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Final Wish of Maggie Bosworth

My review for The Final Wish of Maggie Bosworth by Brian O’Gorman, 5/5 stars.

I’ve read a few horror books by Brian O’Gorman, so I was interested to see what this one would be like, having heard it was completely different. I’m pleased to say there wasn’t a single spider in this book, man-eating or otherwise! This book was a pleasant surprise, showing another side to Brian’s talents. He has written a moving story that shows how betrayal affects a woman emotionally, but can also make her stronger, and keeps you turning the pages.

Just when Maggie Bosworth thinks her life is all sorted, her husband springs a nasty surprise on her and she has to start all over again. Her two children’s lives are also affected by their father’s actions, as they evaluate their own relationships.

This bittersweet story is sometimes sad and sometimes funny, as the reader follows Maggie on her journey of self-discovery.

But as with any book by this author, I waited to see where the story was going to go and wasn’t disappointed with its magical twist and surprising ending!

I’d like to thank Brian for giving me a pdf copy of his book.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

New year, new blog!

I’ve decided to make some changes to my blog in 2018. I’m so busy with writing my books, proofreading other authors’ books, and generally being involved in the writing community that it is very difficult for me to find time to write articles. So, I’m going to start posting my reviews for indie authors’ books on the main page instead of the book review page, which means each book will get its own segment! I’ll try to elaborate on the reviews I write on Amazon and Goodreads, with more info and more of my personal opinions.

Unfortunately, I can’t accept requests to review books, as I have a tbr list a mile long! I may change that in the future if I ever run out of books to read… I will, however, be available to help in cover reveals or book launches, as long as you can send me all the info. Again, I may or may not be able to add a personal review, it depends on time and other projects I have going on at that moment. Please contact me at helenprykeauthor@gmail.com with regards to cover reveals or book launches only.

If I find time, I would also like to do some author spotlights – I’ll update you about that later.

I’ll also be posting updates on my own books, such as promotions, free days, etc, so keep an eye out for those as well.

I hope this will give more visibility to indie authors, and help readers decide whether to take a chance on reading their books.

Happy New Year to everyone, may 2018 be a wonderful year for you all!

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Some great book offers!

There are some great book offers on at the moment – if you’ve ever wanted to try new indie authors, this is probably a good time to start!

A group of authors have got together with this special deal, which lasts until the 31st December:

14 books at 99c each

There’s a great variety of books for every taste, at a fantastic price!

The ebook version of my middle grade children’s book, Dreamland, is also on offer at 99p/99c in the UK and US.

Dreamland

Give indie authors a chance, as you can see from my book review page, there are a lot of great books out there!

If any indie authors have offers on their own books, please list them in the comments below.

Halloween Facebook Hop

This fantastic author and blogger Halloween Facebook Hop starts tomorrow. Join in the fun for a chance to win loads of fantastic prizes on each participant’s page, and a whole load of prizes in the rafflecopter grand giveaway!

I’ll be giving away 2 mobi files of Walls of Silence. Look forward to seeing you there!

Trick or Treat: Halloween Facebook Hop

Reader Extravaganza Event!

Today, the 7th October, a bunch of indie authors are getting together to give away copies of their books, chat with readers, and get to know more people. There’s also a grand prize of a $200 Amazon gift card!

In order to have a chance of winning the gift card, you need to visit each author’s link and comment ‘done’ on the main post in the event. Click on the link below to see all the links and for more information!

Author links for entering grand prize

Hope to see you at the event!

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