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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Shrinking Debut Novels in Bookshops by Chris Longmuir

Awarding winning author of five novels, Chris Longmuir talks about the decline of new authors' publications in High street bookshops

Do Writers Need Publishers?

Have you noticed how the numbers of debut novels in the bookshops have been shrinking recently? I used to browse book shops for new, unknown writers, mainly to sample them in order to find out what will persuade a publisher to publish. In the process I read many good novels, and one or two stinkers. But I’m not having a great deal of luck lately. So what has changed?

Well, I suppose the recession has to take some of the blame, and then there is the rapid rise of the ebook market, which many publishers never believed would happen, and now that it has, they seem to be running a bit scared.

As an author who has been traditionally published I’ve noticed that over the past few years it is getting more and more difficult to find a publisher willing to invest in new novels from lesser known writers. Their focus seems to be on best selling authors, celebrity memoirs, and celebrity cookbooks. But it isn’t only lesser known authors who are suffering the fallout, several of my friends, with more than twenty books to their names, who have in the past published best selling books have been dropped by their publishers.

A literary agent who apparently represents President Obama criticizes publishers who are only willing to buy ‘sure things’. Read the critique here and if that is the case, and I quite believe it is, then authors are on a hiding to nothing when they try to attract the attention of a publisher. Maybe we should be targeting the accountants instead?

Despite all this the publishers, or their representatives, do their best to discourage authors from taking the electronic self publishing route. Among their arguments are, that authors still need publishers to provide editorial services, cover art, promotion and marketing. The first two are blatantly not true because these things can be purchased, and as for promotion and marketing – well, all I can say is that there is no marketing budget for most authors. The budget goes on the ‘sure things’, the best selling authors who would sell in any case and the celebrity books. When last did you see any advertising for an author apart from any of these?

So I reckon it’s time to fight back. Ebooks are here to stay and it is relatively simple for an author to break into this market. Many well established authors are now publishing their backlists this way, as well as their newer works. So this is where I now look for the new authors, as well as the really good writers who are getting the go by from publishers, and similar to before I’m reading some really good books, although according to the laws of average there are some stinkers as well.

To learn more about Chris visit our Author, Books & Trailer Pages

If you are an Indie Author or a Book Reviewer and interested in joining Famous Five Plus, click on the link below and email for details

Monday, 30 January 2012

Strictly Business Gets Novel with Famous Five Plus

A big thank you today, to one of our Friends at Famous Five Plus, Strictly Business.

February's edition of Strictly Business on-line magazine is out and as part of their support to our new, exciting and dynamic group, there is a full page showing six of our authors' publications and a link back to this site all on page 12!

Strictly Business will be showing more books from the Famous Five Plus collection in March.

To view this month's publication, click here.

To learn more about Strictly Business visit them at
or visit our Friends Page

If you are an an Indie Author or a Book Reviewer and are interested in joining Famous Five Plus, click on the link below and email for details

Friday, 27 January 2012

A Year On!

Author of the Marshall Connors Series -- Mystery, suspense, and baseball, Allen Schatz shares his first year as a published author and what you can really learn.

Amanda Hocking, indie/self publishing's darling of success stories (just Google it if you haven't heard it) was recently on CNN's AC360 with Anderson Cooper. Somewhere, a dead horse is crying out for the beatings to stop.

Short version: Hocking was self-published ("was" because she is no longer solely such, having signed a traditional book deal), got "discovered" by fans in an immaculate manner (timing, genre, luck), and soon sold over a million copies of her book, one of a select few indie/self pubbers to do so.

Suddenly, every self-published writer had a new hero, someone to emulate and adore, to make us believe all the hard work would someday pay off. We now had a "formula" to follow, a path to success, a light at the end of the long, dark tunnel that is writing.

Except if we didn't.

If I've learned anything in my first year as a published writer, it is that there is entirely too much to learn and that most of it is for sale in a "How to" book somewhere online. Such books popped up almost as fast as new iPhones, seemingly every other day for a while. Paraphrasing, the titles usually went like this: "Sell Your eBook" or "Self-publish to success" or "You too can sell a million copies".

Admittedly, I picked up a couple. I was mostly disappointed. Turns out I was doing most of the things the "lucky" few had done. I have a website. I am on Facebook and Twitter. I blog (as you can see). I interact with readers. I promote. I target. I coddle and nudge. I hammer and push. I toe the line of spamhood. I direct message. I auto follow. I share links and retweet. I do it all.

And I'm still close to a million short of Ms. Hocking. So what does it mean? Is she a better writer than me? I'm pretty sure no. So what is it then?

I wish I knew. And maybe that's what I've learned about writing. I don't know what will work. I just have to keep at it. All the guidance and expertise doesn't matter. I will succeed or I will not. But success can be measured in ways other than units sold (of course, if you have bills to pay, "units sold" matters a lot).

I'm successful in having kept at it.

My best path is to continue at it, to just write.

My first three books are known as the Marshall Connors Series -- Mystery, suspense, and baseball. They continue to be highly rated by readers and reviewers. That's about all I could ask. Visit HERE for availability. My next book is coming soon: LIARS BALL... stay tuned.

You can learn more about Allen by visiting our Author, Book & Trailer Pages

If you are an Indie Author or a Book Reviewer and interested in joining Famous Five Plus, click on the link below and email for details

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Today at Famous Five Plus we welcome Author Harry Leslie Smith, author of three novels and a gentleman who has seen more of life than most. These days he spends his time between Canada, UK and Portugal.

Harry Leslie Smith was born in Barnsley Yorkshire in 1923. After a stormy and chaotic youth; he joined the RAF in 1941. Smith eventually ended up in occupied Hamburg Germany at the end of the Second World War. He remained part of the peace time RAF until 1947 whereupon, he married and decamped back to Yorkshire with his new bride. Six years of post war England were enough for Harry and his bride and they decided to emigrate to the greener pastures of Canada.

In Canada, Harry Smith worked in the oriental carpet trade.He specialized in designing and importing unique rug creations from all over the Middle East, the former Soviet Block, and Afghanistan.
Since his time in the second world war, Harry Leslie Smith has been an avid reader and writer; who at 89 has found a keen interest in social media and connecting the stories of his past with contemporary audiences.

Currently, he divides his time between Canada, Great Britain, and Portugal.

You can learn nore about Harry by visiting our Books & Trailer Pages

If you are an Indie Author or a Book Reviewer and interested in joining Famous Five Plus, click on the link below and email for details

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Nikki Bywater Reviews No Matter What by Michelle Betham

Famous Five Plus Reviewer, Nikki Bywater shares her review of No Matter What by Michelle Betham. "This is a sensational novel packed with drama, passion and tragedy."

The story starts of in 1991 when India is just an ordinary girl from the North East of England. India is working as a legal secretary for a prestigious firm of solicitors she is living a normal life working and living with her best friend Charley. They spend most weekdays having girlie nights in watching chick flicks and eating chocolate and most weekends out on the town.

India’s life is about to change dramatically and more than she could have ever imagined. When she and Charley attend a works event in walks the famous film star Reece Brogan and he shows an interest in India. He invites India over to L.A for a screen test for a part in a film starring along side another big film star Kenny Ross. They want an unknown face, someone fresh and exciting.

India is a success and she is catapulted into the life and glamour of becoming an A list star in Hollywood. India now has the actors in her real life that she had been only use to watching in films. They are Reece Brogan the film star who made all this happen for her he stays close to India, but he is keeping a secret from her. Kenny Ross who India finds she gets along with great and she is surprised just how at ease she feels in his company and film star director Michael Walsh who is secretly in love with India and is waiting for the chance to tell India how he feels. But with India drawn to Kenny will he ever get a chance?

This is a sensational novel by Michelle Betham. It is packed with drama, passion and tragedy. The book has got an excellent cast of characters. The story covers three decades of India’s life, from India’s normal life in the North East of England to the glamour and glitz of living the Hollywood lifestyle. So it is a nice long read and I found I could completely get lost and easily lose a couple of hours, when I was reading this book it’s just pure escapism at its best. I will look forward to reading more of Michelle Betham’s work.

To learn more about Nikki visit our Book Review Page

To learn more about Michelle visit our Author & Book pages

If you are an Indie Author or a Book Reviewer and interested in joining Famous Five Plus, click on the link below and email for details

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Rise and Rise of the eBook Revolution

Today, we welcome Richard Fitt from Authors On Line, a publishing company that started back in 1997. Richard shares his knowledge and insight into the phenomenal growth of e-publishing.

Authors On Line has also joined our select Friends of Famous Five Plus

We are all aware that printing and publishing are going through the biggest revolution since Gutenberg. That generation that came out of the womb holding a mobile phone are becoming adult readers and the halcyon days of real books will, within a generation, inevitably be a footnote in history. Not a bad run though, no other industries have lasted 800 years virtually unchanged and unchallenged. Whilst High Street Book chains struggle with falling sales and book printers with smaller and smaller print-runs, eBooks have outsold hardbacks for a while and are set to overtake paperbacks sales within the next 5 years.

Self Publishing, itself has never been healthier, it only the media for deliver that is changing. The printing of books and magazines will, as the surviving generations that love holding and smelling them go to the great reading room in the sky, be confined to specialist areas of furniture to adorn coffee tables and bookshelves.

In a recent ‘Imagine’ program presented by Alan Yentob on the BBC, on ‘The Future of the Book’, nobody from today’s publishing industry disagreed or gave a counter argument about the likely demise of the printed book. They all accepted to a man and woman that its demise was but a generation away, at the outside. Take school children for example. Why would they carry around a satchel full of heavy, expensive books, as we all did when we were children, when you can hold an entire library on a lightweight pocket sized devise permanently connected to the Internet that will last you through your entire educational career? And when you break it, lose it, or update to the latest model, the data can be reloaded back on to the replacement from the ‘cloud’ upon which you stored it. Think of the billions that will be saved by education authorities throughout the world on not having to supply school books. And that’s just one area of book use. Apply that across industry and leisure activities and we will in 50 years time look quaintly back at ‘real’ books as interesting collector’s items for the Antiques Road Show. Sad maybe, but inevitable.

And why will this happened so quickly? The answer to that lies in the hands of three goliath corporations, Amazon, Apple and Google. Amazon’s specification for its Kindle complies almost exactly with the same spec my partner, Derek Reece and I wrote back in 1996 for the ideal reading devise for our proposed eBook company. It had to be a cheap, dedicated device, allowing authors to publish free, directly via a website, with a means of stopping piracy and have an online, one stop bookstore. For the first 10 years after we wrote that the manufactures thought differently, simply incorporated eBook readers as part of their expensive ‘boys toys’, or PDA’s. So we, somewhat frustrated and not having the power of venture capital behind us to develop further, concentrated our efforts on traditional printed books. Amazon however when inventing the Kindle wrote the same spec as we had 10 year earlier, and with their clout the rest as they say, is history.

Apple were a slightly different proposition, in that they first built products that became ‘must have’ fashion Icons, so once they decided to go into the eBook business they were able to get away with a much higher priced multitasking gadget on which their customers actually wanted to read books and magazines. Both ideas can’t really be faulted.

Now how does this effect self-publishing companies like us? Well to be quite honest, I’m not quite sure yet. Our problem of course is the fact that they immediately cut us, and every other publisher, straight out of the loop as you can publish with them directly, if you are able to cope with the technology. At the moment however the technology is beyond a lot of authors, so we are able to offer a service to do it for them, but inevitably that will change as the software becomes easier and easier to use.

We will simply have to adapt and metamorphoses with the changing times, which is something we can fairly easily do and have been for the past decade and half. 10 years ago authors would simply splash out to publish their books in print and see how it went. And none of them knew anything about any of the processes involved. Now the majority have at least some familiarity with word processing and graphic packages and are able to do a lot of the work themselves. So it’s just an extension to self-load it to Amazon Kindle or an Apple iPad and see how it goes.

In lots of ways this is fantastic news, books can be interactive, automatically cross referenced, have video, 3D and sound built in, on the fly size adjustment and a whole host of other things we are yet to think of! And above all it has given power to the people to self-publish at will and finally taken away from the publishing industry that power of veto over who gets published and who doesn’t, which has, mistakenly, allowed the industry to give the impression that it was the guardian of literature, which it most certainly never was. Now you can write a book and offer it to the whole world without ever consulting another human being. Now that is good news.

The downside is the demise of: the high street bookshop (mind you it’s not only bookshops having that problem!), libraries as we know them and most of the world’s publishing companies. Even Random House has admitted they are unlikely to be able to compete. Scarily, publishing will almost certainly be exclusively controlled by those three companies, Apple, Amazon and Google. Personally as long as they don’t try to censor or control publishing content, which so far they have shown no sign of doing, I wouldn’t have an issue with that. But unfortunately to quote Lord Acton, ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely’. So inevitably they will do something in a dictatorial manner, and that will present future generations with problems to solve.

I came into the business because I was annoyed by the arrogance, cronyism, and narrow mindedness of the publishing industry and wanted to shift power to the people and allow their audience to be the judge of success, without some jumped up publishing executive getting in the way. Just because I didn’t become the Internet Billionaire who made capital out of that opportunity, doesn’t mean I can’t say well done to those that ran with the idea and did make it. But for the moment the printing of books remains the route of choice for most authors and readers, as our increasing sales figures show year on year, so I think it will see my time out thank you. We ain‘t dead yet! Far from it. The book reader holding a lump of processed tree is still, by a country mile, in the majority, and I suspect he is not quite ready to go just yet. But good luck to the next generation, enjoy the revolution, it will be both exciting and challenging and no doubt as the UK’s first self-publishing eBook company Authors OnLine will be right in the thick of it!

Bio on Author On Line:

Authors OnLine Ltd was established in 1997 to allow authors to publish their work on the Internet. It was started as a subsidiary of a web design company, Managed Web Space Ltd., which is still operating to this day. One of its founders, Richard Fitt had tried unsuccessfully to publish a book in 1992, and when he was approached by his friend Derek Reece, in 1995 to see if he was interested in starting MWS, jokingly said, 'Only if we can have a website to publish authors who have been rejected by mainstream publishers.' The idea stuck however, and when Derek Reece went to Sri Lanka to visit a friend for 3 months in 1997 he decided to sit on a beach and design the UK's first ever self-publishing e-book site. The website was subsequently launched in October of that year and the company incorporated a year later. It now has over 1000 authors publishing over 1300 titles.

Now Based in Gamlingay on the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire boarder, England, , the company started life in Hertford, an attractive county town some 20 miles north of London, in offices over 'The Dark Horse Brewery' in Adams Yard, supplier to many of the local pubs. A small independent brewery, it was on prime building land and the landlord eventually closed the building as the developers moved in. Unfortunately the brewery itself failed to relocate and a great brew was lost for ever.

Since February 2001, Authors OnLine branched out into paperback publishing - pioneering in the UK the new printing technology, 'Print-On-Demand'. Again the very first company to do so!

To contact us please email me at and visit our website at

Any member of Famous Five Plus will receive a 10% discount on our services.

Thank you Richard for not only taking time out to talk to Famous Five Plus, a very interesting article. Also a big thank you for being one of our Friends.

If you are an Indie Author or a Book Reviewer and are interested in joining Famous Five Plus, click on the link below and email for details

Monday, 23 January 2012

Through the Looking Glass: A Self-Editing Tool

Today, Author, Susan Russo Anderson shares some very useful tips on editing.

Through the Looking Glass: A Self-Editing Tool

Warts and all, don’t you wish you could flip a switch and see your work with new eyes? Hundreds of years ago, classical painters did just that when they discovered a self-editing time saver so effective that painters still use it today.
Like writers, if artists work too long without taking a break every couple of hours, they become blind to their mistakes. So one day a painter stepped back about ten feet from his easel and turned 180 degrees. With the canvas directly behind him, he held up a mirror until it reflected his painting. Then he gazed at his work through the looking glass and saw it with a brand new set of eyes. He was able to pinpoint what line or color needed tweaking.
With the help of computers, there are ways writers can use to mimic the painter’s mirror, empowering us to see our work in fresh ways while we write, before we put it away to age in some drawer.
Perhaps my attempts to see with new eyes won’t work for you, but they do for me:
· When I write, I use two different programs, Scrivener and Word, but any two will do. At first it seemed really cumbersome, switching from one application to another. But now it’s almost instant. And for me it’s important to use two different programs on one computer in order to create the “painter’s mirror.”
· In the first program, I write the first drafts, breaking them up into scenes.
· Every so often I copy a scene or passage from the first and paste it into a blank document in the second program, making sure to use a different font and page zoom. Amazing, how “other” my writing looks to me in a new format, and how quickly I can spot errors or words to slash.
· Later on in the self-editing process, I post excerpts to a blog. There’s something about seeing my work online that helps me to view it with a reader’s eyes. I add a new post, schedule it for a future date, preview, revise, and update as necessary.
· And of course there’s the absence makes the eyes grow sharper method of ageing work, that long, ruminative stage of self-editing that involves putting the draft in a drawer, taking long walks or arguing with the characters, consulting style sheets or reading poetry, Molly’s soliloquy works well, blah, blah, blah. (But isn’t this phase really revision rather than self-editing? Growing the story or just plain growing? There is a rumour and a radiance of wings above my head …)
· Whatever. In the final stages of self-editing, before the draft goes to the editor or proofreader, I read the words out loud. Annoys my cats no end, but it helps me with phrasing and rhythm.

Do you have self-editing methods you’d like to share? If so, bring them on!

To learn more about Susan visit our Author & Book Pages

If you are an Indie Author or a Book Reviewer and interested in joining Famous Five Plus, click on the the link below and email for details

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Ananda Reviews Too Much Trouble in Paradise by Michelle Betham

Famous Five Plus Book Reviewer, Ananda reviews, the fun chick-lit novel, Too Much Trouble in Paradise by Michelle Betham

Molly Parker used to be a DWAG (Darts wife and girlfriend). After finding out that her husband, famous pro dart player Paul “Bad Lad” Parker is also a naughty lad behind her back, she decides to divorce him. She needs a new life, somewhere far, far away from the painful memories and her unfaithful husband. So, she leaves England and moves to Tenerife with her best friend Fran.
For a while, things just couldn’t be more perfect! She’s at this beautiful, exotic place, starting a fabulous new life, finding a job she loves… oh, and not to forget she’s soon-to-be-married AGAIN, but this time to an absolutely hot and charming Spanish guy Antonio.
Well, few of her friends seem a bit surprised she’s getting married so soon after her divorce, but you just can’t stop love, right? She does love Antonio, does she? Or maybe deep down inside she’s just trying to get her “revenge”?
You might think Molly is one lucky lady and that finally she found her Paradise on Earth. I thought so too, but then trouble walks into Paradise, her ex-husband Paul shows up out of the blue, saying he still loves her and wants her back!
Decisions, decisions, decisions… Who will she choose to be with at the end?
Too much Trouble in Paradise is a lovely chick lit book and I had lots of fun reading it. Molly is sweet and loveable character, though at times absolutely torn and confused, but then again, who wouldn’t feel this way if they were in her shoes. I admire the fact she had the courage to start a new life and have her smile back so soon after the divorce. I loved her energy, optimism and big heart. As for the two men in this story… oh they will really get you crazy. I admit, I didn’t like Paul at the beginning. He seems to enjoy fame too much and is not bothered with how Molly feels about the female fans stalking him. However, you will see his softer side, later on. As for Antonio, I found him absolutely adorable!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, great chick lit that will relax you, make you smile and dream of sunny islands, cocktails…and darts!:) 

To lern more about Ananda, visit our Book Reviewer Page

To learn more about Michelle, visit our Author & Book Pages

If you are an Indie Author or a Book Reviewer and interested in joining Famous Five Plus, click on the link below an email for details

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Sue Fortin Reviews Shades of Appley Green by Miriam Wakerly

Author and Book Reviewer at Famous Five Plus, Sue Fortin, reviews Miriam Wakerly's new novel, Shades of Appley Green.

Steph is a special, but troubled young woman. Chosen by the mot venerated man in Appley Green to fulfil his mission, she feels publicly admired rather than privately loved. She certainly does not trust men!
In helping a once famous, elderly architect with Parkinson’s regain a social life, she finds herself taking personal risks, fending off objections, blind to danger. We wait for the moment when it dawns on Steph what is driving her deep-seated obsession; for only then can she find happiness she deserves.
Appley Green is a charming English village. Everyone says so. But people are still people. With the emotional turmoil that comes with love, birth and death, a close-knit community can harbour betrayal and guilt, as well as joy and laughter.

My Thoughts
Shades of Appley Green is lovely heart-warming story, one which I very much enjoyed.  
I became very fond of Steph as the story developed and felt a great empathy for her not only for the difficulties she faced today but for the problems she had had to deal with in the past.
I thought the way Miriam revealed Steph’s back story was done brilliantly through diary entries and, without interrupting the flow of the story, expertly showed how these events impacted on Steph’s life today.
The twist at the end, I didn’t see coming at all and it really made me sit up and think but again, the way this was woven into the story it didn’t seem out of place and sat comfortably within the novel.
Miriam Wakerly has a lovely, easy style of writing that draws you into the story and keeps you there at a nice pace.  The story touches on difficult issues in a sensitive manner and in a style that is not uncomfortable for the reader.  The end, for me, was very emotional and did, in fact, bring a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes.  A lovely story of one woman’s journey to understanding and accepting her past and ultimately finding an inner-peace and happiness.

To learn more about Sue visit our Author, Book & Book Reviewer Pages

To learn more about Miriam, visit our Author & Book Pages

If you are an Indie Author or a Book Reviewer & interested in joining Famous Five Plus, click on the link below & email for details

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Bestselling Author Margaret James visits Famous Five Plus HQ

Today, we have the wonderful Margaret James, author of sixteen published novels joining us to give an in site into her exciting and wonderful writing career.

Margaret when did you start writing and how did it all begin?

I began writing short stories about 25 years ago, when my children were very little. I wrote for women’s magazines – there were a lot more of them in those days, and they all published fiction. So when my daughters used to ask if there were any princesses, fairies, Barbies or ponies in my stories, I always had to say sorry, children, they’re all about mummies and daddies kissing!

How many books have you published?

If we count rewrites – the paperback novels in my Dorset trilogy are radical rewrites of the original hardback versions – the paperback of The Penny Bangle coming out in May will be my sixteenth published novel.

How long was it before you had an agent and publisher?

I wrote my first published novel A Touch of Earth in 1986 and found an agent for it almost straight away. She sold it to what is now Sphere in a three book deal. It was so easy back then! But it’s much more difficult nowadays. My agent sadly died a few years ago and I haven’t tried to find another one, mainly because I know my way around the industry, but also because agents these days tend to be interested in bestselling writers and nobody else. Recently, one agent told me she was looking for all kinds of novels, but they had to be novels which she was confident would sell 100,000 in paperback and go into foreign editions, too.

Today some publishers expect their authors to do a certain level of publishing, what are you expected to do with your publisher and agent in so far as promoting and advertising yourself

Choc Lit is absolutely committed to promoting its authors and marketing its titles, which is wonderful. I’m more than happy to help promote my books and I am delighted my publisher wants to do this, too. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and I have a blog, all of which help me to connect with readers.

Your latest books, The Silver Locket and The Golden Chain form part of a trilogy, The Silver Locket starts during the 1st World War, what made you write a book set in this period?

I find WW1 absolutely fascinating. It was a huge global conflict on a scale nobody had ever seen before, and it had a radical effect on the civilian population in a way previous wars (mostly fought by men in glamorous red coats on distant battlefields) had not. The lives of most women changed enormously, and that was what I wanted to write about when I created my heroine Rose Courtenay. I tried to show readers how I saw WW1 bridging the ancient – well, early 20th century – and the modern worlds. If it hadn’t been for WW1, I don’t suppose our lives would be anything like they are today. We women might still be waiting for the vote and still be debarred from most professions.

When can we expect the third book in your trilogy to be available?

The Penny Bangle will be out in paperback in May and is up on the Amazon UK site for pre-order.

Are all your books in paperback and Kindle and do you have a preference to which you like to read?

I have four books on Kindle right now – The Silver Locket, The Golden Chain, Elegy for a Queen and A Green Bay Tree. I must admit it took me a while to get used to Kindle. But now I love it and download all sorts of things I would probably not have otherwise read. I need to get my act together, revise then Kindle all my backlist, but I don’t know when that will be.

Most of my other novels were published in paperback and readers can track them down through Amazon Marketplace.

Famous Five Plus are all Indie authors for a variety of reason, but all professional in their writing and publications, is there any advice you can give them, in particular to marketing, both as an author and their books?

I think the social networking revolution has been of huge benefit to authors, helping to get us all better known and out there for readers to find. My advice is to join Facebook and Twitter and also to help other authors, if you can, because then they will probably help you. I must admit, however, that it’s very easy to miss a complimentary comment on FB. I feel very embarrassed when someone says something nice about me or my writing, and I fail to thank them.

Maybe run competitions – offer your books as prizes on your FB page, on your blog and/or on Twitter. You might not make any money that way, but you’ll become better known, and giving away one book might mean you go on to sell ten more. People can’t buy books if they haven’t heard of them, so it’s important to keep yourself in the reading public’s eye, but don’t annoy people by relentlessly promoting your book. Don’t just say read my new review, people – write about other things as well.   Say something nice about someone else’s novel, tag this person, and maybe he or she will say something nice about your book, too!

Out in the real world – ask your local Waterstones if they will allow you to do a signing. The attitude of managers varies from store to store, but some are very welcoming. If you have an independent bookshop near you, ask if you can do an event there. Local church groups and societies are often desperate for speakers. Libraries often hold author events. In the past year, I’ve done three of those. It can be difficult to push yourself forward, but sometimes it has to be done.

Thank you for inviting me on to this blog, Pauline. I’ve really enjoyed talking to you! I’d be delighted if you would invite comments and choose one commentator to win a copy of The Silver Locket or The Golden Chain in paperback. I’ll send a signed copy to the winner.

Margaret, a huge thank you for taking time out to talk to us and from all of us we wish you continued success with your new novel, The Penny Bangle, due out in May.

Leave a comment below and one lucky winner will receive a signed copy of The Silver Locket or the The Golden Chain from Margaret.

You can visit learn more about Margaret at her web

If you are an Indie Author or a Book Reviewer and are interested in joining Famous Five Plus, click on the link below and email for more details

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Friends Supporting Famous Five Plus

Today, we extend a warm welcome to our first Friends at Famous Five Plus who not only support our group, but through their own businesses are offering help to ensure all our authors continue to grown.

Cathy Helms from Avalon Graphics, a graphic design company specialising in book cover design and book trailers is not only supporting Famous Five Plus through Social Media, but is offering a privilege rate exclusive to members of Famous Five Plus. "I am thrilled to offer discounted rates on book covers and book trailers to any member who contracts Avalon Graphics for creative services."
Main Website:

Strictly Business is a on-line magazine based on the Norfolk Coast...
Their aim to help promote Small Businesses and Local Charities in Norfolk and Suffolk... And from February, Strictly Business will be supporting Famous Five Plus with a page showcasing a selection of books from Famous Five Plus Authors.
The Magazine is designed and produced by PC Graphics... and you can follow them on twitter!/strictlymag
Please contact Debbie if you would like to know more or for details of the cost for a page.

A HUGE thank you to these amazing organisation, Cathy at Avalon Graphics and Debbie at Strictly Business Magazine. We are honoured that you are one of our Friends.

If you are an Indie Author or a Book Reviewer and are interested in joining Famous Five Plus, click on the link below and email for details

Monday, 16 January 2012

Famous Five Plus, Book Reviewer, Louise Graham reviews, Gypsies Stop tHere and No Gypsies Served by Miriam Wakerly.

Whilst they do following on from each other they can be read as a stand alone, my recommendation would be that you read them both as the stories flow together. Because of this I am reviewing them together!

 Gypsies Stop tHere (synopsis taken from Author's Website)
Will uprooting herself from London to live in the country help Kay escape guilt-ridden memories of her husband's death? Far from finding a quiet life, she is caught up in an age-old village conflict where passionate opinions on Romany Gypsy Travellers divide the local people.
A young woman, Lena, enters her life, unwittingly putting Kay's plans on hold. Kay struggles to not only come to terms with her emotional past but also to resolve Lena's problems, those of the village and the Gypsies. And another relationship blossoms that she would never have dreamed of...

No Gypsies Served (Synopsis taken from author's website)
Two years have passed since Kay successfully campaigned for the Appley Green Gypsy Site, and four years since her husband was murdered. Life in the village was going so well, until the phone call and letter. Then comes the disastrous site opening. Worst of all, Dunstan, whom she realises is her best friend and ally, is giving her the cold shoulder for some unknown reason.
Dunstan is taking an emotional trip down memory lane, into childhood as a Gypsy on the road, and his eventual break from his people. Why is he so angry with Kay that he keeps away from her? Chances of a longed for reconciliation look slim...

Miriam had touched upon a subject that some could find controversial with a very skilled hand and care. It is extremely clear that she has conducted a large amount of research on the subject matter and often includes the actual words used by the travellers (thankfully a conversation into English is included in both books at the back!). Over the years this has been a subject that has been highlighted in the media with a lot of negativity and I feel that whilst these are just stories, Miriam has really helped me understand the Gypsy community a little bit better with some compassion.

These books are not just about Gypsies, the main focus of the story is about the widowed Kay and her struggles to restart her life after the death of her husband and her children grown up with lives of their own. What she thinks will be a quiet existence turns into a very busy life in the picturesque village of Appley Green. You get what you'd expect from a Village community - the local shop owner, the nosey neighbours and the rich man in the large house!

Miriam has beautifully written a fabulous pair of books which are gentle but whilst both just over 220 pages in length, packed full of substance that will keep you wanting to read on. Kay is a wonderful leading lady for the books who is a strong woman, maybe is a little too trusting but you can't help but admire her strength and positive out look on life and those around her, gorgeous connections between Kay and her daughters. Dunstan the gardener sounds like the perfect Gent! All wrapped up with a will they won't they get together!!

Thank you so much Miriam for sending me a copy of both of these books. Really enjoyed them both very much
To learn more about Louise, visit our Reviewer's Page

To learn  more about Miriam, visit our Author and Book Pages

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Saturday, 14 January 2012

Ananda Reviews Discovery at Rosehill by Kathryn Brown

Famous Five Plus Book Reviewer, Ananda, reviews Discovery at Rosehill by Kathryn Brown..... 
Are you one of those that at least reconsiders that there might be more out there… “something” different, “something” not everyone can see with their eyes?
The story is centred around Camilla, a 44 year old woman. She’s a medium and she has experienced her first spirit encounter when she was 16. It is the spirit of her grandmother that brings her to Rosehill, a place that hides many dark secrets…secrets she has to reveal!
“You will find more civilization in this house than you could ever wish to find anywhere else. Believe me, you’re meant to live here. You have so much to learn about your life and it all starts here in ROSEHILL.”
Camilla is one strong lady, however she’s having difficulties in finding new friends, because being a medium is usually considered by many as “not normal”.
Marcus is the local vicar and someone who’s willing to get to know Camilla better. Soon their friendship develops into a romantic relationship. However,  their true and deep feelings don’t change the fact they have different beliefs.
“He communicates with God, she communicates with the dead”.
Is it possible for such a relationship to work out?
I really enjoyed “Discovery at Rosehill”. Mrs Brown managed to create an original and very interesting story with romance/mystery/paranormal elements. I also loved how things were developing, the gradually built up tension and the twist at the end which took me completely by surprise! I think Mrs Brown created lovely characters to which readers can relate, though they might not believe in spirits and ghosts. As for the main character, Camilla, I am fascinated by her. She’s strong and independent, and well aware of her powers which she treats like a gift, not a curse. She knows what her purpose in life is and is completely devoted to it - helping others, friends or strangers, even angry spirits who can’t cross over.
Though it’s a fiction book, it really felt too real! But then again, it’s not really easy to say when reality ends and fiction begins, right?
To learn more about Ananda, visit our Book Reviewer Page

To learn more about Kathryn, visit our Author, Book & Trailer Pages

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