CU TieI’m so happy to be a party of the indie author community. I’ve met so many supportive writers, readers, and bloggers - the general feel is cooperation, not competition. When we all support each other, the whole community benefits, and I’d love to see the whole world working on this sharing and caring level.

The kindness that I’ve received in the last six months since I embarked on my indie journey has humbled and inspired me. Not only have I been lucky enough to meet some wonderfully supportive people to give me the benefit of their wisdom and experience, but also, people have actually been giving me their time and resources freely! For example, my proof-reader is just starting out and he wRomancing the Real You Coveranted someone to practice on! I gladly volunteered and I wish him lots of luck with his business – I know he’ll do well! My sound engineer who helped to record and edit my audiobook gave his time and talents freely, assuring me he was enjoying helping. And my new book covers have been designed and created by a very kind and generous lady, who has given me so much of her time, knowledge, and support.

So, because of my inherent English guilt (lol!) I was inspired to give my time, experience, and knowledge to someone else to balance things out! But what could I do and who could I help? Obviously, we must be cautious about thrusting our help onto people unwarranted – that would be worse than no help at all! Luckily, I saw an opportunity to help, when my yoga teacher said she wanted someone to create a website for her, but didn’t know who to ask. That was something I could do! I’ve been blogging for 18 months and I know how to use! Yay!

Warrior 2It feels so great to help my yoga teacher. It’s not just beneficial for her to have a website, but also, it gives me a sense of achievement and something new to create. It’s been said that when we lend someone something (a pen, a book, or a hand), we tend to feel warmer towards them, and we’re more inclined to want to help them again in the future. As long as we help without resentment (or without being pushy!) then we will benefit as much as the person we’re helping.

You can see Tricia’s yoga website here Let me know what you think! And please ‘like’ us on Facebook, too!

What kindnesses have others done for you? And what kind acts have made you feel good when you’ve given to others?

julie_farrell_webAfter spending so much time, passion, and money to create and publish a novel, why on earth would I pledge to donate all proceeds from Ruby in the Dust to a local children’s charity, The Link Foundation?

There are three reasons for my decision: heritage, community, and investing in the future.

It’s easy to forget that in an affluent town like Maidenhead there are many families who struggle to give their children the basics – food, clothing, and shelter. What chance do those children have of gaining a good education and bettering their circumstances, in such unstable conditions?  The Link Foundation generously supports Maidenhead children, to help them grow up strong, nourished, and educated. These children are the future custodians of our town, and we can all help to preserve a sense of community, to benefit all.

My family has lived in Maidenhead for several generations. My great-grandparents raised their family in Grenfell Avenue, and I love to look at old photos of the town, to connect with this heritage – it’s where old meets new.

This theme of ‘modern versus traditional’ is something that’s explored in Ruby in the Dust – which is set in Maidenhead. The book celebrates the useful aspects of the modern world, such as improved medicine and technology, while seeking to re-ignite the traditional sense of community in Maidenhead.

Mhead PaperWhen we feel like we’re part of a community, we get a sense of belonging, and we’re more likely to behave accordingly – we’ll look out for each other and respect each other more.  The most precious part of being human is sharing a connection with others. Thinking about others and spending time as a community often makes our life sparkle.  Being a member of several mini-communities within Maidenhead – such as Maidenhead Speakers Club – gives me a sense of belonging. We can create that feeling on a town-wide scale. We can all come together and take pride in our common connection – the town of Maidenhead.

This highlights my final reason for wanting to give the proceeds of my book to The Link Foundation. The underlying message is: We need to look after each other because that’s how we ourselves will be protected, happy, and fulfilled. We’re ALL in this together.

You can buy Ruby in the Dust on Amazon UK or Amazon.Com  

You can make a donation to the Link Foundation at






Originally posted on Julie Farrell Books:

Do you love romance? Do you love STRONG women? Do you love FREE prizes?

I’m honoured to have been invited with four other wonderful female authors to give away a great package of romance books. Help us celebrate a Valentines Day with a difference this year. It’s all about us women giving ourselves love and respect, by reading and writing about female characters who embark on a journey that leads to empowerment.

The books you could win are:

Driving Me To You by Julie Farrell 

Love Uncovered by Evelyn Adams

Sorry’s Not Enough by J. Lea Lopez

Whiskey and Gumdrops by Jean Oram

Whispering Minds by A.T. O’Connor

Follow the links on Jean’s or A.T. O’Connor’s blogs to WIN one or all the books!

Jean Oram

A.T. O’Connor’s

Happy reading, happy loving, and happy celebrating!

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Originally posted on Julie Farrell Books:


Happy New Year! I hope your resolutions are going well so far! :)

I mentioned in a recent blog post that I was going to be using Bookbub in order to promote one of my novels, Driving Me to You. I’d heard good things about Bookbub, but I was apprehensive, because it’s expensive to get an ad on their email newsletter. They also have very tough criteria, so I was thrilled when they accepted my submission!

I’m very happy to report that the results were incredible! I had over 40,000 downloads of Driving me to You during mDMTY #1y free promo, most of which were down to Bookbub! Driving Me to You went to NUMBER ONE in the free chart of my genre, and also to number 4 of the free chart on the whole of Amazon’s Kindle Store.

I would recommend Bookbub to any indie author in terms…

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2014 is going to be a great year for me!  But, before I get too excited about goal-setting and resolutions, I think it’s important to remember exactly what I’ve achieved this year.  So here’s the list of how great I’ve been in 2013…

Just joking!  But it is something that I’d encourage you to do.  It’s so easy to forget what you’ve achieved, and only judge yourself by your current standards.  But there was a time when just not having a panic attack would feel like a triumph for me.  It’s still important that I stretch and challenge myself, but I can remind myself that I’ve achieved a lot just to get here, and I mustn’t be down on myself when things aren’t wor6521489823_1d9e8f7880king out with my next project – which would be something I wouldn’t dream of doing just a few years ago.

Me and my friend Steve (who has comments on pretty much every post on this blog – thank you Steve!) have a tradition of going out for a curry just before Christmas, to look back on the year just gone.  I’m looking forward to reminding myself of what we’ve both done this year.  And then we can set our resolutions and goals.

Look back down the mountain at what you’ve achieved this year, and feel proud of your efforts. :)

Happy Christmas and Happy New Year to all my lovely readers! X


CU TieIt’s that time of year – the season to be jolly and think about those we love!

How’s your year been?  Did you know what an amazing difference you’ve made to all the people around you this year?  Maybe you’re thinking you haven’t, but you have.  The film It’s a Wonderful Life reminds me of this every year.

In the film, James Stewart plays George Bailey, a family man who’s had enough of being in debt and listening to his kids playing the piano badly! He is thinking about committing suicide, but then his guardian angel, Clarence, shows him what his hometown would be without him around.  There’s a lot of crime and unhappiness around now, because the small acts of kindness that George Bailey has performed throughout the film – which don’t even seem that significant at the time – haven’t happened.  George had saved his brother as a child, and his brother went onto save servicemen in the war, who also had now died in this alternate reality.  His wife Mary had never found happiness, and his now-childless mother (because George’s brother died, remember) is bitter and sad.

George frantically asks Clarence to not let this reality be true.  “I want to live again!” he cries.  “Take me back!”

When he goes back to his hometown, George is so grateful just to see the grocery store and shops – things he’d probably seen hundreds of times before, and taken for granted.  He’s ecstatic to see Mary and his children.  Being so close to losing everything, makes people so happy just to experience normality.  It’s great we have films like this to remind us of how lucky we are AND how powerfully we influence others, so we can appreciate what we’ve got, right here, right now.

You are amazing, okay!

Your unconscious mind believes what you tell it to believe, so I invite you to only say kind and empowering things about yourself, and not give any energy to disempowering thoughts.  Don’t put yourself down in your head, or in front of other people.  And if other people criticise you, you don’t have to believe them!  What if they were saying you had blue eyes when you’ve really got brown – you wouldn’t believe them, would you?

Forgive yourself for the times you regret, and remember all the amazing things about yourself.  You’re a complex human being, and you can’t logically judge yourself only on the actions you regret.  If you’ve done something regrettable, create an intention not to behave that way again, then forgive yourself and move forward.  If you do end up doing the regrettable thing again, just repeat the forgiveness/intention process.  Would you stop being friends with someone just because of one regrettable thing they did?  What if a friend told you they’d done something silly and now they thought they were useless – would you agree and say, “Yes, you are”?  Unlikely.  Or what if a child made a mistake, would you encourage her to dwell on it for the rest of her life, telling her never to forgive herself for it?  What makes you so special that you have to be perfect all the time?  Cut yourself some slack!

Over to you:  Speak your greatness

On an A4 piece of paper, write down all the qualities you love most about yourself and read it whenever you’re feeling insecure or unhappy.  Smile at yourself in the mirror!  Look at how much you’ve achieved!  You’re so cool!

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Mark Lanesbury for all his kind words and support recently.  Go and have a look at his inspiring blog.  His writing is beautiful, and he speaks so powerfully from the heart – you can’t help but be inspired and motivated!

What are your thoughts about how powerful you are, or how precious normality is? :)

Whiskey314k               Last time I interviewed Jean Oram, I wanted to know how she’d managed to get her debut novel, Champagne and Lemon Drops, onto the first page of search results for her genre on Amazon.  You can see that interview here:

A few weeks ago, Jean released book two of the Blueberry Springs series, Whiskey and Gumdrops, and again she managed to get it straight in at number 1 on Amazon in the genre!  Jean has joined me today, so that I can once again benefit from her experience, this time with regards to launching book two!

Jean, thanks for joining me again!  Firstly, congratulations on the success of Whiskey and Gumdrops!  I was at your Facebook launch party when it was zooming up the charts, and I was so happy for you!  Can you tell me what you did prior to the launch of book two, differently to book one, to make it smash the top so fast?  Or, is it more a matter of building an author platform with book one, and then letting those readers know about the new one?

Thank you! I used book one, Champagne and Lemon Drops, to build a newsletter subscriber list of fans. I also used Facebook to build a following as well. When I was ready to launch book two, Whiskey and Gumdrops, I planned a Facebook event—a cyber book launch party—and notified the readers I had friended on Facebook as well as my subscriber list. 

The first sales of my new release came directly out of my Facebook launch party. I could actually count them! So between my launch party and my newsletter—I sent one out the weekend of the book’s release—that helped launch the book into an Amazon top 100 paid category list which helped visibility for the book. Amazon’s algorithms pay attention to how fast a book sells in its first days of release so this helped give me a punch in the arm out of the book release gates. Now the trick is to maintain a steady balance of sales to keep the book visible. 

However, I didn’t create a buzz around the prelaunch of book 2. Preorder on iTunes didn’t even work properly as the book somehow got set to ‘invisible’ for three weeks and nobody at iTunes could figure it out for ages! I didn’t do blog tours. But I did put out a BookBub ad for my free book, Champagne and Lemon Drops, the weekend of Whiskey and Gumdrops’s release which helped. One reader joined the launch party because she’d found the first book on BookBub, then looked me up, saw the party and joined. Did she buy book 2? Not sure.

As I mentioned (because I’m such a name-dropper) I was honoured to be invited to your Facebook launch party.  Could you tell me how you managed to get so many people to come along, and where they all came from?!  How did they all know about it?

BWheadshotNOglassesYes, thank you for attending, Julie! You were a wonderful and fun addition! For the launch party invites, I did a few things to get just under 200 attendees for the Facebook event. Unlike many authors, I didn’t give away prizes for people sharing the event as I was happy with a number I felt I could manage. It was my first book launch, first online event, and I think the number of partiers was perfect as I was able to stay on top of the comments and interact—and to me, that was most important. 

For guest authors, I had 18 authors sponsor a giveaway of their choosing over the two day event. Basically, I approached authors I knew and asked if they wanted to come and either offer a giveaway prize or come and host their own. 

For attendees, I had some very wonderful readers see me create the event on Facebook and immediately shared invites with their friends! I was completely blown away by their support. They are wonderful, wonderful women. I also sent out an email newsletter to my subscribers once the book was released and the actual party was about to start. (I created the party/event about two weeks ahead of time and the newsletter I just mentioned is the same one I mentioned above.) I also shared the event on my Facebook page and profile as well as Twitter. Also, I was also a featured author on a Facebook page for readers the week leading up to the launch and the launch party link was shared there. I also sent invites to my Facebook friends through Facebook.

Other than ‘Don’t move house that weekend’ is there anything else you would’ve done differently before, during, or after your launch party?

Yes, I would spread out the launch party giveaways a bit more. It got pretty crazy with one an hour for awhile there. I would also hold a (new release) book giveaway early in the party. I found readers had entered a giveaway elsewhere for the book and were holding off buying the book during the launch. By the time the winners were announced for the external giveaway, the impetus to buy the book may have waned. 

I would do so many things the same though. Lots of wonderful authors, giveaways, interaction, and humour. I had so much fun. It was exhausting—two 14 hour days! But it was rewarding and I feel as though readers know me better now. I’ve since seen an uptick in interaction on my Facebook page.

What advice would you give for a novice author (such as me!) who’s currently writing her next book, and is planning to launch in the next few months?  What are the best techniques that I can use to try to follow in your chart-topping footsteps? (Other than write a brilliant book, of course!)

Don’t go overboard. Things get out of hand easily and quickly. Things take WAY more time than you think they will. Double or triple the work you estimate it will be. It gets exhausting and there always feels like there is more you can do. Simplify. Be yourself. If you don’t have time to finish a conversation, etc., tell people you will circle back in a day or two. Keep lots and lots of lists to stay organized. It is so easy to forget or confuse or… 

As well, there is no need to spend a lot. It was stressful wondering what the postage would be on the items I was mailing out as prizes. Wondering if I would be able to cover the costs…I was, but it was stressful. You want your launch to be able to pay for itself. Giving away iPads, etc., might draw party goers, but are they there for the prizes, or because they genuinely like your books?

You’re already writing book three, will your launch party for that one be different?  Do you have a whole new strategy based on your experience of launching the last two books?

Champagne and Lemondrops CoverGood question. I think there will be a launch for book 3. I think I will try to hold a BookBub ad around launch like I did with Whiskey and Gumdrops if possible. I may also do a blog blast through a company I’ve heard about through an author friend. It’s hard to say. The release for Rum and Raindrops is a few months off (I’m aiming for February 2014—no pressure!) and this indie world is changing so quickly, what works now may not work then. 

But things I will do—get my new street team lined up to help. Advertise. Send the notice out to my newsletter. Ensure the book is live EVERYwhere. (God, that was such a disaster! Don’t launch a book when you don’t have Internet!!) I will also hold a launch party. I may also try to have the print version ready at the same time and hold a Goodreads giveaway to increase visibility at launch.

Finally, are you still enjoying being an indie author?  Will there be a book four in the series, or will you try something slightly different?  What’s your ten year plan of world domination? ;o)

I’m still enjoying it! LOVING it, actually. The past month has been amazing. There is a book four planned for Blueberry Springs. But…I’m not sure about the timing of Amber’s story. So, I may jump over to a new vacation series I have planned. I’m really excited about it and I think readers will enjoy it. A bit of celebrity. A bit of hot vacation spots. A bit of romance. Hello! 

My ten year plan…wow. I’m just thinking about how much writing time I’ll have when my youngest hits school in three years. Ten years…hmmm. I do have a five year business plan. It involves upping my book publishing to 3-4 books a year. Adding audio books at some stage as well as book trailers. And of course, hitting some bestseller lists! I’m thinking the book I plan to release this summer with the new vacation series might be the ticket to heading in that direction. Maybe. You never know what this indie journey will bring. 

Thank you for having me on your blog and being a friend through the journey, Julie!

Thank you, Jean, for all the inspiration!  Wishing you the very best with your books!    :)

You can find Jean Oram and her books online at and her books on all major online book retailers. Follow her on twitter @jeanoram and on Facebook.


Read about why I’m giving my books away for free, and where! :)

Originally posted on Julie Farrell Books:

1950s readingAfter all that hard work of writing two books, and going through all the costs of self-publishing, why would any indie author want to start giving their books away for nothing?  This is a subject that I’ve seen some authors getting very upset about – they don’t see why they should give their work away for free; it’s worth more than that!

Well, it IS worth more than that, but retailers have been giving free stuff away for decades, in the hope of attracting new customers and building their brand.  The evidence supports the fact that it’s a good idea to give free books away to gain new reviews and readers.  Amazon’s algorithms seems to favour books with lots of reviews, so every review is gold dust to an author.  And, of course, any exposure is always a good thing when you’re just another unknown author in the millions on Amazon.


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It feels like happiness is out there in the future, doesn’t it?  I want to sell lots of books – it’s my goal.  And there’s nothing wrong with having goals.  But I know that selling books won’t bring me happiness.  Why?  Because, no matter what it is I think will make me happy in the future, it’s not that thing.  Whilst I’m busy fantasizing about what might make me happy in the future, I’m missing what CAN make me happy RIGHT NOW!

Stop wishing your life away, and be still, here and now.  Appreciate you all have.  This present moment is so precious.


This is what I think Dorothy meant when she realised there was nothing over the rainbow, but  instead, there was no place like home. :)






(Picture borrowed from with thanks)

What do you think?

Basking Next time you’re about to buy something unessential, ask yourself, Is this useful, or will it clutter up my loft?

Why do you still want more, when you already possess so much?  Why do you continue to eat long after you’re full?  Why do you want to upgrade your mobile phone, when your current one works perfectly?  Why do you want to change your partner, when you’ve already got one who treats you so well?  Why do you have a loft full of junk, yet continue to buy more stuff to add to it? 

You want more because you’re under the illusion that you’re not enough. At the moment, you think you’re inadequate, as if there’s a piece of the puzzle missing.  It feels as if experiencing new objects, people, and situations can fill that void.  But it won’t work because the void is an illusion.  When you sit there quietly, just breathing, alive in the present moment, you realise that you’re already everything you need to be.   

This sort of attachment is like mental Clingfilm – once it gets stuck on something it won’t let go.  Thoughts of the sought-after item will plague you until you fulfil them – I need that new car.  I need to be near that person.  I need a holiday.  But it’s a state of mind that’s never satisfied – new things are quickly incorporated into normality, and almost instantly we’re seeking the thrill of the next new thing.  In the 1950s, we started out with one TV channel, but that wasn’t enough, so we added another, then another, then we had four, then five.  Now we’ve got hundreds of TV channels, but still, when I look through the TV guide, I can rarely find anything that I want to watch.  If happiness really lay in possessing a forty-two-inch TV, then good feelings should radiate into living rooms all over the country, day and night; yet, if your mind is dwelling on argument you had earlier, you can be sitting on the comfiest sofa, watching your favourite film on the biggest TV in the world, and still feel terrible.

Adding more and more won’t increase your happiness, because you’re looking for happiness in the wrong place.  Happiness doesn’t exist outside of your mind.  All the things you currently own, you once believed could bring you happiness, but now it’s all just stuff.  Happiness isn’t going to suddenly appear at a magical point in the future.  Whatever it is that you feel that you’re lacking in your life, gaining that thing won’t bring you permanent happiness.  It may feel that getting a Brad-Pitt-alike to go out with me will bring me happiness, but actually, those wishes are simply thoughts wallpapering over a feeling of lack that’s (perhaps) inherent in us all.  The thoughts that say ‘If only I could have that thing, then I’ll be happy’ could be about anything.   

           Cracking up A few weeks ago, I was browsing on an internet dating website, because I haven’t been in a relationship for a while, and I thought it might be nice to experience some romance.  I scrolled through a few pages of potential mates, but I was disappointed with the selection, so I stopped looking and opened up a retail website instead, where I went shopping for a new phone – because my one kept cutting out in the middle of a conversation.  I managed to find the perfect mobile phone, and suddenly, I wasn’t bothered about finding a relationship anymore.  I felt happy and excited, because I’d found temporary satisfaction.  I’d just needed something – anything – to plaster over the underlying feeling of lack.   

Perhaps it’s all just about satisfying out body sensations.  If we can delay that desire for instant gratification, we might just end up being more rational, and much happier.  What do you think?


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