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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Essential Services for Authors from Brook Cottage Books

There is so much on offer for authors at Brook Cottage Books as Pauline Barclay found out when J B Johnston from Brook Cottage Books popped into FFP HQ

P: What made you set up Brook Cottage Books?

JB:I had been blogging for a while, trying to develop my personal blog. As part of that blog I had developed a book review page as I am such an avid reader. The review page turned out to be hugely popular. So popular in fact that I was getting so many requests from authors that I was worried that book reviews would start to take over my personal blog. As I became more involved with writers groups, such as Famous Five Plus, I also wanted to help promote authors, particularly Indie authors and felt that the only way I could do this was on a separate blog. And so, the idea for Brook Cottage Books was born! The support I myself received in turn from authors and other bloggers has been totally amazing and Brook Cottage Books is going from strength to strength.

P: Do you review all genres or is there a specific genre(s) you review only?

JB: Before I began reviewing books I’d have pretty much stuck to reading very specific genres – horrors or thrillers. I was definitely not a chic-lit type of girl. However, blogging has opened up so many possibilities for new genres that I will now read every genre. I can’t believe that by sticking with only particular genres for years, that I denied myself such wonderful books! And, the most shocking of all………..I now love chic-lit! My husband is amazed by this. So, I generally review all genres.

P: Brook Cottage Books is much more than a Review site as I see you offer several new and exciting services.  Please tell us about some of them and why you decided to offer such services?

JB: Brook Cottage Books is turning into a full-time commitment on top of my full time job and I spend a lot of hours a day working on it. So, in essence, I have 2 full time jobs! I suppose I decided to offer a range of services to bring in a small income from the blog, given that I dedicate so much time on the blog; the most popular of those services at the moment being advertising. The blog offers authors an opportunity to advertise their book covers on the blog sidebar for a small fee. The book cover will have a link attached to it also, directing readers to either the author’s website or to buy links. The author can buy this service for a period of 4 weeks at a time. They may renew once for a further 4 weeks. However, after that period of 8 weeks in total they will go on the waiting list to allow others the opportunity to make use of the advertising space.

I also offer a Promo Blitz service which means I can set up a facebook events page for authors and co-ordinate bloggers for reviews to appear on the events page. It seems a very simple thing to do but for many authors, they simply don’t have the time to seek out reviewers, host a promotional event and co-ordinate it. Plus, it can be pretty exhausting for one person to have to man a facebook events page all day and keep the momentum going whilst making it a fun day for the participants. I’m the other half of your tag team! Check out my services page on the blog to find out a little bit more about what’s on offer.

P: Final Read Through is another of your services, this is so essential for all authors, again tell us more! Why you offer this and what you do?

JB: Being a reviewer I am often lucky enough to be given the opportunity to read Advanced Reading Copies of books. I always consider this a great honour. I love the fact that someone is putting their trust in me with their literary baby. However, sometimes when reading these books I sometimes spot errors that have been overlooked during proofreading. I have found myself spending more and more time contacting authors / publishers to point out these errors. I think it is very unfair for an author to get a bad review from someone simply down to typos. But, the reality is, it’s a tough business and some people will give a negative review due to this. The fact that the author wrote a fantastic book and is very talented will be lost in the negative comments about typos. Proof-readers are only human and sometimes things do get overlooked. With the best will in the world, none of us are superhuman. So, the final read through service is simply an extra pair of eyes going through your work after it has been proofread. In one particular book that was due for publication, I spotted over 20 errors. I think it’s an invaluable service.

P: An important aspect for all indie authors is getting their book noticed and as well as offering advertising space I see you also post promotional features. How does this work?

JB: On the blog I have Author in the Spotlight features and promotional posts such as cover reveals, giveaways and excerpt posts. All of these things are free to the author to make use of. Basically each of these posts can look any way the author wants and can include anything the author wants. They are all about promoting the author / books as much as possible so will only be as good as the material the author sends me for the post. I try my best to schedule posting of these posts to coincide with publication and include buy links to their books. Often, authors are quite happy to go on the waiting list for such a feature and will often request such a post between books just to keep their online presence fresh.

P: If any or all of the visitors to FFP want to talk to you about, Reviewing, Promo, Final Read for their book or advertising, how do they go about it?

JB: I am always online throughout the day so can usually be found on facebook or twitter if anyone needs to ask me anything. However, the best way is probably via email and all queries can be sent to

Links for Brook Cottage Books:
Twitter: @jontybabe
Blog twitter: @BrookCottagebks

A Huge thanks JB for taking time out of your manic schedule to talk about your wonderful services, I feel there is going to be a very long queue outside your door with authors wanting your help and support.

You can also find out more about Pauline by visiting our Author, Books, Trailer and Review Pages


  1. Pauline, thanks so much for this wonderful feature. I love it! I'm grinning like a Cheshire cat!!! xxxx

  2. JB you offer a fab service and you're so generous with it. It's nice to see you get a bit of promotion here in return.

  3. You certainly are keeping manically busy, JB!! Good for you and good luck with it :D xx

  4. Thanks, JB, for supporting indie authors!

  5. Thanks for your kind words guys and for all your support. x