by Elle Field
Geli Voyante's Hot or Not is my second self-published novel; compared to when I published my first novel Kept six months ago, I've learnt so much since then! I'm sure when my next two books are released in 2014 - The Dirtification of Tabitha-Rose and the sequel to Kept - I'll have better ones but, for now, here are my top tips for any writers out there who have decided to take that exciting leap and become a self-published author:
1. Who do you know? Being a self-published author means more than just writing a book. You need to edit it, organise the book cover and promotional side of things, as well as dealing with tax issues and much more. But, maybe your old university friend is a graphic designer and could help you design a cover, or perhaps your best friend is a marketing genius? Don't be afraid to ask for help. You can do it alone, but life is a little easier with a friendly helping hand, or two, along the way.
2. There's the old adage "Never judge a book by its cover". In today's world though where there are thousands of books published every month, it is important that your cover looks as professional and pleasing to the eye as possible. If you don't have the skill set or a friend who does, do spend as much as you can afford on getting your book cover designed. Don't forget that business costs can often be offset against income in your tax return (check this with your accountant/ tax specialist).
3. If your cover has caught their eye, the next thing they'll check out is your blurb. Always approach how you represent yourself as a self-published author with how you would act if you were a reader looking to buy a new book. If you had just read a long and boring blurb, you probably wouldn't buy that book. However, if the blurb was snappy, stood out and got you excited, you'd be more inclined to click purchase, wouldn't you?
4. Plan accordingly. With Kept I hit publish with no reviews or real promotion in place - I only started promoting the book on publication day, apart from a few tweets and blog posts beforehand. With Geli Voyante's Hot or Not I planned the launch three months ahead, built up to publication day, plus now have a solid month of upcoming promotion already sorted out.
5. Be professional and plan ahead - leave time for the unexpected and unknown. If you think it will take you a day to format your novel into Kindle format, allow two days. It's better to be sat on a finished novel with two weeks to spare than sharing it two days late because you didn't realise how long something would take you to do.
6.You could spend money on Facebook ads or Goodreads ads - I ran these for Kept - but, unless you have a massive budget, you probably won't make much of an impact and get the exposure and sales you'd like. Save that money and invest in a book tour, like Fiction Addiction Book Tours (who co-ordinated this tour for Geli Voyante's Hot or Not). A tour is much better value for money; you'll reach more of your intended audience and actually get to converse with your (potential) readers.
7. If you're going to have a book tour or feature on other people's blogs, you need to take the time to make sure that what you put out there is of the highest quality. Write, rewrite and edit your guest post or interview; never send anything out unless you have checked over it a couple of times.
8. Make sure that any photos of you or your book cover are optimised for search engines. This will boost your search rankings and, potentially, your sales. Cameras often tend to default photo file names to obscure things like "DSCI0142". Do take the time to rename any images and make sure that they are of sufficient quality, both when you send them out to people and when you use them on your own blog.
Good luck! What are the top tips you've read or, if you're a self-published author, what are your top tips?
'I think I will always be known as the Hot or Not girl, defined by it for the rest of my career. Even my tombstone will read: Angelica “Geli” Voyante, beloved trendsetter. Death? Not Hot.
Yet, it doesn’t sound right. Why won’t anyone realise that there is more to me than this fickle persona I have inadvertently become?'
Geli Voyante is bored of being the Hot or Not girl, even if it has the perk of sitting next to Theo, the newspaper's very Hot political columnist. She's also getting a little lonely being single.
When her arch-nemesis Tiggy Boodles gets engaged, and other loved ones start to settle down, it's time for Geli to convince Theo that she’s not as shallow as her column suggests and, more importantly, she’s the one for him. Geli should remember though that there are always two sides to every story, and that applies to people too...
Computer loaded. Connect to Internet. Facebook. Log-in. Password: Toblerone. Let’s just have a little scroll down my News Feed.
“Claire Voyante is listed in a relationship with David Sinclair” – ooh! Claire has a new boyfriend. Bitch! He has no chance though because she’ll never marry someone called Sinclair to become “Claire Sinclair”. It’s stupider than Claire Voyante. There’s a mini-picture of the two of them. Looks kind of geeky – exactly her type then. Boring. I know they won’t last, so I don’t care… Much.
Scroll down some more.
“Glinda Rosenberg wrote on your wall. 9.13 a.m.”
Excellent! Glinda is my very best friend and no doubt has messaged me to arrange lunch, even though we live together and saw each at breakfast – the reason I was late for work… again. We easily lose track of time when we’re together and we always arrange our lunches over Facebook because it helps waste the morning away. I’m just about to click “view wall-to-wall” when something catches my eye and I frantically, and quite manically, scroll down. Run mouse, run!
It can’t be… it is: “Tiggy Boodles is engaged to Calvin Murphy-Lee.”
“Millicent ‘Lily’ Jackson is engaged to Jasper Jenkins.”
“Sarah Simmons is engaged to Toby Holton.”
Shit. Shit. Shit.
Three! Three in one day! This cannot be happening to me. Especially not Tiggy. Why, oh why, Tiggy? I didn’t even know she was seeing someone seriously.
Lately, I’ve noticed this a lot though. All my so-called friends are getting engaged, settling down, beginning the cosy coupledom of married life, until death (or divorce) do they part. Each time I see an announcement, a little part of me dies. Each time, I can’t refrain from thinking, but what about me?
Not that I actually think “what about me?” because what they are doing is just Not Hot. I should know, I declared it so. Everyone knows that grown-up life begins at twenty-five. Before that you are still a child. You wouldn’t let a three year old child get married; equally, you shouldn’t let a twenty-three year old child get married. These may be adult bodies we inhabit but on the inside we’re no better than toddlers. Until twenty-five, that is.
I mean, everyone agreed I was right to declare paying back student loans at above £15,000 earnings wasn’t Not Hot. Changing the requisite to over twenty-five gives the post-uni people time to sort their lives out and allows a greater chance at getting a foot on the housing ladder (house prices aren’t Hot either). It allows the opportunity to deal with silly credit card debt without the additional worry of student loan debt. This break would boost the overall economy and make a better Britain, or at least that’s what Jerry (real name Ben Anderson; Ben and Jerry) declared to me after he read that particular Saturday column-inclusion.
Jerry is the Economist columnist and whereas Theo is Hot, Jerry’s gay. We are beyond looks. But, at least he makes sense when he talks, doesn’t mind me calling him Jerry, and calls my column “inspired” – far more flattering than Theo’s grimace.
I suppose I can just about cope with Lily and Sarah’s engagements, but Tiggy... I cannot accept that she… she is getting married.
Tiggy Boodles is my arch-nemesis. She cannot be getting married for legitimate reasons because she is incapable of love. This is a spite campaign against me so she can declare in her pathetic rip-off column that I was wrong and weddings for the under twenty-fives are Hot. But, if she hadn’t got some poor schmuck to agree to marry her – and I bet she cajoled him into proposing – she wouldn’t be saying that. I bet this Calvin Murphy-Lee person did not drop to one knee or, if he did, it was only because Tiggy was gripping his arm tightly with her talon-grip and pushing him to the ground.
Tiggy Boodles is your classic airhead. She is blonde to my brunette; orange to my human-colour; a copy-cat to my creative – proved by her rip-off column: “Fab or Faux”. Sound familiar? Week-in, week-out, she declares my column as faux. She likes broken, low-quality records as you’ve probably gathered. It’s funny though as I’m the one with all the awards… and my own boobs. There’s nothing faux or unnatural about me… unlike the silicon in her.
In public however, it’s a different story. There are air-kisses for the silly cameras that inevitably seem to follow Tiggy Boodles around like the poop (not the scoop) she is. For the record, the air-five is the Hot way to greet friends and enemies alike. She schizophrenically acts like we’re best buddies because we both hail from the same hometown of Durban, South Africa, we both attended the same university here in the UK – Leeds – and we now both live in London, where we write a similar column, in the same publishing family. I quickly, and rather unnecessarily add, my column is far superior, but as we both work in the New News family and with New News being big on family values, bizarrely they encourage this deluded, juxtaposed rivalry in the spirit of sisterly banter. They think it’s great. Newspaper talk for: we sell copies.
To me though, despite what senior management may say, Tiggy Boodle is faux and I hate her. She is nothing but a parasite whose favourite activity is replicating my life to torture me. Go figure.
It’s wasn’t always like this. Once upon a time, back in Durban, we were best friends. Inseparable in and around The Berea, the neighbourhood where we both lived. Even though we were in different houses at school, we were still inseparable. Inseparable. Up until the point she stole my childhood sweetheart, Eric Nevis, in a move that divided the loyalties of our year group at Durban Girls’ College and then we were never found in the same vicinity again. Even though our worlds collided practically every day and we shared the same physical space, we were operating on different levels. That made it like we weren’t in the same place, even if she was standing two metres away or sharing a desk with me in class. The girls’ loyalties may have been divided, but the teachers didn’t care. Hence, the forced desk sharing.
Eric later cheated on her – he slept around, especially with the tourists frequenting the Golden Mile – and, to my great delight, gave her a nasty disease. It gets better. He then told everyone the real reason why he dumped her instead of covering it up with social niceties. Fantastic! Even if he had left me for Tiggy I instantly forgave him for that.
Every so often, I like to include STI’s in my column as Not Hot. It gives me great satisfaction to know I’m subtly, but publicly, making a dig at Tiggy. Better still, she knows it. It also wins me brownie points with the adults because I have a huge teen following and it promotes me as a modern day heroine for promoting safe sex. Ha! And it’s all thanks to Tiggy Boodles for being a cheating, phoney slut. It kills her to know that.
However, Tiggy Boodles may be a cheating, phoney slut, but she is a cheating, phoney slut who is now engaged. That smarts. More so than when she enticed Eric away from me using the lure of cheap sex. I cannot believe a girl of her dubious morals is getting married before I am to this Calvin person, whoever this deluded Calvin person is. Quasimodo’s uglier brother, perhaps?
Quick! Click on Calvin’s name. Excellent, his profile isn’t limited!
Oh dear… Oh dear, dear, dear… This is not good. This is not good at all.
Name: Calvin Murphy-Lee
Interested in: Women
Relationship Status: Engaged to Tiggy Boodles
Birthday: 16th January, 1977
Hometown: Windsor, Berkshire
And, oh my, he’s Hot. Click, “view more photos”.
Crap. He is deliciously hot. Life is truly not fair. How is Tiggy Boodles, Tiggy Boodles of all people, engaged to a deliciously hot, thirty year old City boy who is probably worth millions by now and who, worst of all, looks nice? Not just nice in the looks sense, but like a nice person.
He’s tagged in an album entitled “Christmas with Shelter”. Calvin has sacrificed his Christmas Day to help others out and, by the looks of it, not only is this a regular Christmas occurrence, it seems Mr Murphy-Lee helps out all year round. I suspect he doesn’t do this to impress people either. I can tell this because he isn’t posing in any of the photos in the “look at me, look at me” manner I equate with Tiggy. He looks oblivious in fact.
How on earth has the evilest, most selfish girl in both hemispheres managed to snag a gorgeous, rich, nice man? How has she done it? She hates the homeless. She hates charity work. I mean, I suspect she even hates her own mother (justifiable, I’ve met Ursula), so what on earth has he seen in her? If it is true, if she really has managed to capture this man’s heart – let me face the gutting truth for one moment here, she has uncharacteristically kept quiet about him which smacks that this is probably the real deal – then where is my Calvin Murphy-Lee? This makes no sense whatsoever.
About the Author
Elle Field is a twenty-something chick lit author who lives in London with her boyfriend. She enjoys exploring and photographing Blighty's capital, seeing far too many musicals, and eating her way around London's culinary delights.
Connect with Elle;
You can read Elle’s first book too. Kept, has 31 reviews on Amazon UK and is rated 4.5. You can read the reviews on Amazon here.