Self-Published Author’s – My Can’t Wait to Read List

I keep preaching about Zoe Ashwood, but seriously, that woman can write! I’m currently waiting for her to finish writing book 2 in the Nora Moss series so I can read more of that series. But before I can share that with you I need to share my reviews of the Norse Sea Dragons duo and the prequel and first book of Nora Moss.

I have Rebecca Crunden’s second book, A History of Madness which is the sequel to A Touch Of Death, ready to go. I just need to find the time to read it. Seriously, I’m so far behind my TBR pile that I’m prioritising short books so I can give myself enough of a buffer I can then start A History of Madness because I don’t want to rush it, and I’m fairly certain it’s not a short one.

Liz Davie’s new book is coming on tour with Rach Random Resources (who coincidentally is partially why I’m so far behind, she brings way too many good books on tour!) in September so I need to get that read!

I missed out on reading Claire Huston’s Elle’s A to Z when it went on tour with Rach Random Resources (knew I didn’t have the time), but luckily Claire reached out and offered me a copy to read and review since I enjoyed her first book. So it’s also on the list to read when I find a moment.

Camilla Isley also has a new book (or two) coming out later in the year. I’m down to review the first one Fool Me Twice at Christmas but missed out on the second one. I also have the backlog of her First Comes Love series to finish.

Nicola Italia’s latest book (which is already out I believe…) The Imperial Orchid is on my list. Nicola is also a great example of why I love working with self-published authors. I was like 1 or 2 months delayed in responding to Nicola’s email looking for reviewers, and even though I mentioned I wouldn’t be able to release a review for a few months she was still OK with giving me a copy! She understands that time schedules don’t always work out, and since they don’t have massive sales targets to meet like those published with publishers, we get a bit more flexibility to provide reviews. I just like to be up front about it so I’m not killing anyone’s expectations.

Finally, I have Len Webster on my list. This one’s actually been on there forever but because I bought the book (yes I do actually buy books still!) I keep putting that one on the back burner so I can get to the ones gifted to me. Anyway, I reviewed Thirty-Eight Days as one of the first books I reviewed, and I’ve been wanting to read it’s sequel Thirty-Eight Reasons.

As you can see, I quite enjoy self-published authors!

Dave over at The Write Reads also supports self-published authors. He’s an editor and a tour organiser so he’s a pretty handy (and bloody friendly!) guy to know. I like to think I count him as a friend who’s been a great help to me when I’m freaking out and trying to figure out whether to join a tour or not.

Another way I support self-published (and indie) authors is through the Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Award (BBNYA). This is a competition only open to self-published and indie authors who apply and have one of their books read and reviewed by a team of panellists over three rounds. In both years it’s running I’ve been a panellist, although this year I’m also heading up a team to help keep the competition running smoothly.

Well it’s my Friday night. I hope you’ve enjoyed the couple of posts about self-published authors we’ve been sharing all week. If you have any questions about how you can support self-published authors, please drop a comment below and I’ll come back to you!

Self-Published Authors I’ve Reviewed

I ended up busier yesterday than I’d expected so didn’t get around to writing this up for you to share. So today, I’m going to give you a summary of some of the self-published author’s works I’ve reviewed (including links to my reviews) in the hopes you’ll go and give them some love.

The first self-published author I want to share with you is Zoe Ashwood. I’ve been reading her works since she first started publishing books and I really enjoy them. So much so that the first Author Highlight I did, was with Zoe. You’ll find a good summary of her works, why I like her books and then links to all the reviews I’ve released.

I realised when I got to quite a few that I’ve read more self-published author’s than I realised. So the list below is just the ones I’ve read in the past 12 months. There’s likely even more if I go further back, but this is a good place to start!

  • Cenarth Fox (he’s actually Australian and from my home city, he publishes his books through his own publishing company he set up)
  • David Reiss (runner up of BBNYA 2020)
  • Eliza J Scott — I really need to set up a series page for her, I’ve read a couple of her books with the latest being A Christmas Wedding at the Castle
  • Graham Austin-King (winner of the BBNYA 2020 competition, and man was it a great read!)
  • Joy Skye
  • Kellyn Thompson (author highlight to be set up)
  • Kristin Ward
  • Lisa Kessler — I have a series page set up for her Muse Chronicles series, and will need to do one for her Pirates series because I know I’ll read that whole series too
  • Nicola Italia — she’s written quite a few books that I’ve reviewed, her latest is Among the Darkness Stirs
  • Rebecca Crunden (more reviews to come and an author highlight to set up)
  • Rich Amooi — he’s written quite a few books that I’ve reviewed, his latest is Uncork My Love

I hope you’ve enjoyed being able to see how many self-published authors there are that have some AMAZING books!

Self-Published Authors Appreciation Week

Self-published authors are shit and not worth reading.

Says some ass holes on Twitter.

In response to some stupid comments some people made over on Twitter, Jodie (over on W&SBOOKCLUB) pitched the idea of creating some content around why we love self published authors. Of course, a bunch of us loved the idea and jumped at the chance of being able to offer some support to self-published authors.

While I’d be the first to admit that I don’t really know what authors I read are self-published or not. That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate them and give them support. Over the next couple of days I’m going to be sharing some stuff with you, all focused on authors who’ve published their books themselves.

Today, I’m going to give my take on why I think the people saying self-published authors are idiots.

  1. Publishing houses are a dying breed. With more and more content being created that aren’t books, and with more and more books now sold in digital form than paperbacks, you don’t need the powerhouse support of a publisher to be able to reach readers.
  2. Part of a books revenue is given to the publisher to cover the costs of advertising, cover art etc etc etc. Some publishers even take a humongous cut leaving the authors with almost nothing being made from their books even if we’re paying upwards of AUD$20.
  3. The amount of work self-published authors put in to get their works out into the world is ridiculous. Part of my work is to write, edit and release learning materials for learners. I can tell you, the amount of time, concentration and attention to detail required to make sure those flow, don’t contradict each other etc is pain staking. And authors need to do this with a variety of characters, worlds and so many other little details. Hats off to them!

If you think it’s easy, then I challenge you to:

  • Come up with an idea people will want to read
  • Write the story out
  • Edit it (like 5 times, because that’s just what is needed)
  • Proof read it
  • Get cover art made
  • Get it up on GoodReads and/or other platforms
  • Get it out into the world (including ISBN, licensing, formatted, released)
  • Get people to read it (it’s harder than you’d think).

If you manage all that and think it’s easy, or think anyone who goes through all that effort release shit books, then I don’t think you should have an opinion on books.

If you can’t recognise the effort every single author puts into every single book, then I honestly don’t think you should be sharing any opinions about them. Every author puts in a huge effort and they should ALL be recognised and celebrated for that.

Self-published authors have an even harder time because they need to do everything. Often, they’re also working full or part time jobs to help fund their dreams of being an author. They don’t deserve hate for doing the best they can do.

I also find that usually (not always of course, but in my personal experience) they’re more friendly, open to feedback and I often end up with a great working relationship with them. To me, this is one of the best things about working with self-published authors.

New Author Highlights (and Directory)!

As many of us know, our TBR piles can get out of control. Especially when our real lives get in the way.

In my case, life got REALLY in the way!

I’m so far behind my reading schedule that I’m barely managing to bring you the reviews I agreed to do on tours. Like, in some cases I finish the book mere hours before the review goes live. Whereas last yr, and the years before that, I was reading about 4 weeks ahead of when I was due to have a review go live.

Knowing how bad I feel being so far behind, the stress to get them read etc I decided to start a little project to keep you updated, remind you of some reviews I’ve done before and highlight some authors I love.

So from Monday until I’m at a stage where I feel comfortable bringing you reviews again, each week I’ll feature a different author that I think you should know about.

In the mean time I finally got my Author Directory set up!

I’ve been planning this for ages but never quite got around to setting this up when I did my re-design. For now I’ve set up the main directory and I’ll be linking each author’s name to their own page as I’ve built it.

Watch this video to see what the new directory looks like! Or go and check it out for yourself!

Don’t forget to come back on Monday to check out my first author highlight!

Who will it be?

2020 – the year in review

Are we all glad 2020 is over?

Yes. But at the same time it’s kinda still going on so is 2020 actually over?

Well, we made it through so why not have a look at how my reading goals and things went over the course of the year?

Let’s have a look at how many books I read first

My reading went up and down throughout the year which surprised me a little bit. It dropped when I started a full time job which I anticipated, and then again on and off again throughout the rest of the year as the emotional and mental fatigue of being in Stage 4 lockdown really took hold.

In case you missed it, from early July through to the end of October my city was in Stage 4 lockdown. That meant I couldn’t leave my home for more than 1 hr a day, I couldn’t move more than 5km from my home, I had only 3 (because the 4th didn’t apply to me) reasons to leave my home and I couldn’t even exercise Bones off our property because all of a sudden EVERYONE had dogs and had no idea about basic dog ownership manners.

Come November and December I was trying to meet reading commitments and then just ran out of stamina and needed a break.

What about what genre’s I read?

I’m surprised Contemporary Romance rated to highly, however I’m not surprised a romance genre was the highest. The next highest were:

  • Regency romance
  • Rom Com
  • Sci-Fi romance, and
  • Fantasy.

See?

Told you romance would be up there!

What about my general reading stats?

I’m surprised, but also not surprised by where I get my books from. It’s one of the things I want to try and work on this year. As amazing as all the books Rachael and Dave bring me on their tours, I’d love to be a little more diverse with where I get my books from.

Given the amount of tours that I went on where I got copies of the books (ARCs = Advanced Reader Copies) before they were released I’m not surprised by the number of eBooks, “Sparkly” and ARCs.

Can you see why maybe I’d also like to go back to backlisted books?

They deserve some love too!

When I started tracking my ratings back in 2019 I realised how many books I rated 5 stars and decided to be a little clearer with myself on what constitutes a 5 star read. Basically, if I can’t fault it and I loved it, it’ll get 5 stars.

If something like grammar, spelling, editing, flow etc isn’t hitting the mark, then depending on how bad/much it is it could go down from there.

As you can see though, most of my reads sit at a 4+ rating and are between 200-400 pages long. Does that mean I have low standards or am I getting good at picking what I will or won’t enjoy?

What about the Aussie Author Challenges?

Yea I failed miserably there.

As you can see I didn’t get there with either. Between the tours, my general feelings and COVID I just didn’t get there. I do still have the books I picked out on my TBR pile so hopefully this yr I’ll get to them.

I did record my blog stats, but I’m sure that’s not interesting to you so I’m going to end this post here saying GOODBYE to 2020!

We’re back!

OMG I’M BACK!

I feel like it’s been FOREVER since I wrote a post sharing what’s been happening in my life and with my blog. The last time would’ve been end of November!

So since then I’ve picked up a new client that’s kept me on my toes, Bones had some major regressions what with coming out of lockdown, suddenly seeing people again and travelling to the holiday house. It was all a bit much for him so things were a little hectic for me for a while there. But we’re finally settling back down which is awesome.

What about on the blog?!

Well you may have noticed that there’s a new look!

I’d had this planned for a while but it wasn’t until I was like “O crap… I’m 3 days out from when I wanted this to go live!” That I finally got off my ass and started moving my reviews over into the new template.

I can confirm that this is now DONE!

All reviews are in the same template, although you’ll notice I’ve yet to refresh the content of the reviews into the new look. That will be a very long, slow and most likely, mentally painful process for me. But I would like everything to have a nice consistent, easy to read look for you. So I will persevere! Slowly…

I may have also updated my About Me page, and I’m secretly (not so secretly) pretty happy with how this is looking.

Well what’s new?

My home page is a little less cluttered with a nice clean look that gives you some info on what I actually write about with easy to access links. I’ve also kept the sign up option on the front page only.

Do you like that? Should I have that option on all my reviews and posts as well? You tell me in the comments!

I’ve removed the header entirely, so you’ll find the menu options in the footer now. Along with links to my socials and a SEARCH BAR!

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to figure out how to include a search bar but you can now click on the search icon which will open up an overlay over the screen where you’ll type in what you want to search for. Anything (review, post or page) that include that word/term/phrase will then display in the search results.

I’m thinking of including pages dedicated each to my Rach Random Resources, Ultimate Book Tours and Author Requests. Would you like to see those filtered on their own sub-pages? Let me know in the comments!

Have you got anything left to do?

I do actually! I want to have a little box at the end of each review that shows you other reviews for books in the same series. We’re just having some issues getting it to identify and display these correctly, so keep an eye out! Fingers crossed it comes soon!

I also want to create some more fancy headers for my pages, with a kind of similar look to the home page and the actual reviews/posts. Again, for consistency.

Wrap Up – October

How is it November already?! I got a bit side tracked again this month so my reading was rather low compared to September, but that’s OK.

My Fav

Although The Finders surprised me, I also got to enjoy it in ways I wasn’t expecting!

I went in expecting the book to be focused on the dogs, and found it focuses much more on the murder and the mystery. Yes, the dogs play an important part of the story. But they aren’t the central narrative.

The cool thing is that it’s a series, so I’m hoping I can keep reading them as they come out.

My Least Fav

Legends Rise isn’t a bad book. I actually rated it 4 stars and can’t wait for the next one to come out. It just wasn’t QUITE as good as the others I read in October.

It just had the unfortunate luck to fall in the same month as a few others books that I really enjoyed.

If you haven’t read my reviews of the Venators series, you seriously should!

With the way things are going for me at the moment I’m wanting to hold off on scheduling any more reviews than I’ve already agreed to do this year as I have a few things I want to focus on and more reviews will make this difficult to do.

Wrap Up – August & September

It’s been two months since I shared a Wrap Up with you and that’s entirely my fault coz I just got way too busy. How’d I get so busy in Stage 4 lockdown? No idea!

August Reviews

September Reviews

I think I made up for July’s lack of romance in these two months… I think they all have at least an element of romance in them. How’d that happen?

My Fav

I’ll be reviewing the Sea Dragons of Amber Bay trilogy in October, and I can assure you. Of the two I’ve read so far, they’re amazing!

I was blown away by this book and was IMMEDIATELY messaging Zoe asking when I’d get the second book, Ensnared, to read.

Please make sure you come back for this trilogy!

My Least Fav

I was actually broken hearted that this one was my least fav. I love Christmas and I really enjoy reading Lucy’s books so it really upset me that I didn’t enjoy this one as much.

I mentioned it in my review, but I do think I didn’t enjoy this as much as I could have because I was in a bit of a funk personally. We’ve all experienced the fatigue that lockdown has on us, and I read this during a period where we weren’t allowed outside for more than 1 hour and it really just got to me.

I honestly think if I tried this again when I’m in a better frame of mind I would enjoy it more. So this is totally on me, not Lucy!

My Goals

Yea can I skip this bit?

Other than having a stellar September (after following a dismal August) reading month, I haven’t really made any progress on any of my goals. This lockdown crap really sucks.

For anyone that might be interested, since July 3rd my city has been in lockdown. For the first 4 weeks it was Stage 3, then our COVID cases spiked so much we went into Stage 4. What is Stage 4 I hear you asking?

Well, that means we can:

  • Only leave our house for work or study if we’re a permitted worker or it’s unsafe for us to stay at home (nice of them to acknowledge the increase in family violence there)
  • Can’t move more than 5km (3 miles) from our homes UNLESS for permitted work or study (noted above)
  • Only 1 member of a household can go to the shops ONCE per day
  • No more than 2 people from a household can exercise together
  • You must remain on your property (curfew) between 8pm to 5am
  • You can only exercise for ONE hour a day (and apparently you were meant to stay near home… not drive to somewhere within your 5km radius and exercise there… not that they told us that bit…)
  • You can’t see any friends or family UNLESS you’re an official carer
  • Restaurants are open for takeaway ONLY and must close early enough to get everyone home by the start of the curfew

Are you beginning to sense why I went a little stir crazy in August and struggled?

Not to mention I swear everyone near me got dogs, don’t care about training them and they all walk their dogs at different times so it’s impossible for me to walk my poor baby at a time where he won’t have to come face to face with his biggest fears on a daily basis. I honestly can’t wait for this to be over.

I hope you’re all travelling safe and not feeling too down about all this. Remember, if we all look after ourselves, get tested, wear our masks etc we can get rid of this damned virus.

Wrap Up – July

I should’ve had one more review this month, but I didn’t coz I just ran out of time to set it up!

Of the 6 reviews, 3 of them are me finishing off another series review for The Boys of Jackson Harbour. Go me!

My Fav

I really enjoyed this one! I didn’t have to wait long since the previous book which was great. But it also reminded me why I need to go back and read the first 3 book!

I promise, reviews for the full series of First Comes Love is coming!

My Least Fav

You won’t have to wait long for my review of this, it’s coming out tomorrow!

As much as I love Zoe’s books, there was just something about this one that wasn’t as great as the others. It’s not that it was bad, it just felt like it was missing something.

Something that I’ve chosen to do across the month of August is to participate in Pawgust.

Pawgust is a challenge to walk for 30 minutes a day for 30 days in the month of August. The goal is to raise enough money to raise and train 22 puppies to become Guide Dogs in Australia.

I know many of you aren’t from Australia, but if you can spare a few dollars you can donate on my Pawgust Page. You can even follow my progress at Bones’ Instagram page to make sure we actually do walk 30 minutes a day for 30 days!

Pretty please help me raise funds to help those with low or no vision so they can get around independently. Ever dollar really does help go towards the $55,000 needed to raise a single puppy.