Friday, 3 August 2018

Which is more important - a cover or the title?

I am in a quandary and I'm hoping that you might be able to help me. When I am about to start writing a new book I need to have the title in my head first, then the names of the characters, and only after that do I work out a rough outline of the story.
I'm absolutely certain that having the word duke in a Regency title definitely improves sales and also  using the word Christmas in a title does the same.
If you look at the four covers which ones do you think were the most successful? Did you choose because of the title or the cover?
It would seem that currently for a contemporary romance if the words, teashop, or any sort of shop, Cornish, little, girl, are included this also seems to improve its popularity. Indeed, the mainstream publisher I am now writing for is changing the series title of my World War II books to include the word girl. I was told that a girl's name plus the word war  no longer attracts readers.
The Reclusive Duke has been my most popular book so far. Then Christmas at Hartford Hall, then Lady Eleanor's Secret and last Victoria's War, Shadows.
I think the girl on Lady Eleanor looks too sad, but it fits the story perfectly. I love all the covers J D Smith does but for some reason some sell so much better than others.
If I changed the title of Victoria's War would it do better? Changed the cover? I doubt it.
I don't buy a book with the word shop in the title or if it has a pastel cover with hand drawn pictures. But then I don't buy books in first person as I can't read this. I just attempted to read a book by Nora Roberts, the characters and plot were excellent but she head hops so much it dragged me out of the story. Ten POV changes on one page!!
Personally it's the cover that I go for - I scarcely notice the title.
What about you? What makes you download a book?
Fenella J Miller

Sunday, 1 July 2018

All's Well That Ends Well and For Want of a Penny

FREE 2nd - 6th July
I am sad to being saying goodbye to the characters in The Nightingale Chronicles. I have lived with Sarah and Alfie for years and now the final book is on pre-order.
For Want of a Penny was written in 2008 and then updated and copy edited three years ago. This book will be FREE from 2nd July until 6th July.
The fourth and final book All's Well That Ends Well is now live as a pre-order and will be released on 12th July.

Pre-order now. Out 12th July
£1.99 & $2.99
The Nightingale Chronicles - Book 4 - All's Well That Ends Well
This is the final book in a four book series and both Sarah Cooper and Alfie Nightingale will have to endure a deal of heartbreak and danger over the next two years to reach their happy ever after. Sarah becomes betrothed to Robert Billings and moves her family back to Colchester, and Alfie leaves to be a policeman in London. Somehow Sarah must hold the family together and pray that her man will come back to her. Alfie has a life changing decision to make but will he make the right one for himself and the family that he has abandoned?

Thank you to everyone who downloaded The Reclusive Duke either as a KOL or for their reader. This book has done better than any other I've published and if I knew why I'd do it every time.
Until next time - stay cool and enjoy the unprecedented good weather
best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Friday, 18 May 2018

The Reclusive Duke & Other Things

£0.99 & $0.99
Click Here

The Reclusive Duke is my latest offering. It is already in large print with Linford Romance and was included in last summer's Regency Romantics Box Set. 
This is why it is priced so low - it is not a totally new title. 
All my stand alone Regency books, except my Christmas novella, are written for the box set and then when this comes down we can republish as a stand alone title.  My Beta readers loved this one.

Here is the blurb:

The Reclusive Duke
When Lydia Sinclair is left to care for the orphaned children of her sister she discovers they are distant relatives of The Duke of Hemingford. With the last few coins she possesses she buys seats on a common stage for all five of them, determined to persuade the duke to assume responsibility for his cousins. The duke has no wish to have these unwanted relatives foisted on him, since his accident he shuns society.
However, Digby, his man of business, has other ideas and installs Lydia and the children in The Dower House.
Will the duke evict them when he discovers this deception or can Lydia get him to change his mind?

Other Things:

GDPR. No emails are ever shared and any I receive via the website are deleted after reading.

Bookbub/ Facebook author page/Amazon -  if you don't yet follow me on these please could you consider doing so?
Reviews: If you have read one of my books could I ask you to leave a review if you have time?
Thanks. All or any of these things would really be helpful.

Tomorrow  morning is THE WEDDING. Are you going to watch? We will be - love a good wedding.
Tomorrow afternoon is the CUP FINAL. Won't be watching that.
Until next time
best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Should all writers have a pet?

I have always considered myself a dog lover but did not actively dislike cats. We have had four flat coated retrievers and one border collie over the years but are also on our fourth cat.
We had a Bengal-cross that we rehomed for my niece which unfortunately died last November. I loved Louis but he was very unreliable and was as likely to bite and scratch as purr when you touched him.
I was persuaded by my other writer friends that I needed another cat, and this time to get a kitten and one which was guaranteed to be friendly. As I had just had a huge rebate on my council tax (because my husband has vascular dementia I now count as a single person) I decided to spend it on a pedigree cat.
After almost buying a Maine Coon (they are so huge I would not have been able to lift it to take it to the vet) I settled on a British Shorthair. I found the perfect pussy cat and although he was a little older than I would have liked, four months exactly, I collected him immediately after Christmas.
I have not regretted my choice or decision for one second. Billy Blue is an absolute charmer, sweet natured, funny and intelligent. I spent another fortune having the garden fenced so he cannot get out but if you divide the exorbitant sum by fifteen years it doesn't seem so bad.
To get back to my original question – should all writers have a pet? When we had Zoe, our border collie, my husband was safe to leave and I did a lot of planning and thinking on long walks by the river. I don't walk unless I have a reason.

Having a dog was not an option now but having Billy Blue is almost better as he does not require any exercise but does need my attention. This means I have a focus apart from my writing and my caring.

My desk is covered with cat hairs as is my monitor screen and whenever I get stuck I can find the cat and play with him. British Shorthairs are not supposed to be intelligent but I refute that. My cat talks to me, comes when I call him and knows when I am cross because he has tipped his water over again, or climbed on the back of my husband's chair and startled him.
I know a writer who has a parrot, many who have dogs, but I think more of us have a feline for company and inspiration than any other animal.
I talk to my cat, he is a good listener, and my number one fan.

best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Cold Sunflowers a debut novel from Mark Sippings.

Today I am pleased to welcome a friend, Mark Sippings, to my blog. 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Walthamstow in 1959 and now live in Essex. I have two daughters.
Are you a full time writer or do you still have a real job?
I worked as a Civil Servant for most of my adult life contributing to speeches for the Minister for Women and developing new ways to assist disabled people to find their way back into employment.
I'm impressed. Did you do anything else?
In the 80s I owned and ran a restaurant in Colchester and travelled around the world.
Now, that sounds more like an interesting preparation for writing. I gather you are also a musician? 
I am. I spend my time fronting a retro rock covers band, PSYCHO DEHLIA ( I also do 'extra' acting.
Have you played any interesting parts?
An office worker, a caveman and zombie but I prefer to write. I also write poetry.
There's one thing you haven't mentioned that everyone would like to know..
What's that?
That Eleanor, your daughter, was runner up in the last series of Britain's Top Model. I watched every episode. I am sure many of my readers did also. 
I am very proud of her. 
I'm sure she is proud of you too.
Thank you for coming on my blog today and I wish you every success with your book.

Here is the blurb for this amazing book:

It's 1972. Raymond Mann is seventeen. He is fearful of life and can't get off buses. He says his prayers every night and spends too much time in his room.
He meets Earnest Gardiner, a gentleman in his seventies,who's become tired of living and misses the days of chivalry and honour. Together they discover a love of sunflowers and stars and help each other learn how to love the world.
Ereenst recounts his experiences of 1917 war torn France where he served as a photographer in the trenches... of his first love and how his life was saved by Bill, a hardened soldier.
But all is not as it seems. There is a secret that will change Raymond's life for ever.
Cold Sunflowers is a story of love.
All Love.
But most of all it is about the love of life and the need to cherish every moment.

I read this as a first draft and loved it then. I can't wait to read it now it's polished. This is a truly remarkable first novel. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Fenella J Miller

Monday, 2 April 2018

All Change!

 I am sad to tell you that both these books have been removed from Amazon and are no longer on sale. I'm sorry if you intended to buy the new one,  An ATA Girl, but you will now have to wait until next March.
I am delighted to tell you that I have signed a three book contract for this series, Ellen's War, with Aria, Head of ZeusBlue skies & Tiger Moths will have a structural edit – I'm not sure what I'll be asked to change – et cetera and then he reissued with a new cover in September. They are going to use the same model as I have already bought the copyright for these.
An ATA Girl will be out next March and the third and final book, Over and Out, which I have yet to write will be out September 2019.
I have never written for a mainstream publisher and it was the one thing I wanted to experience before I become too old and decrepit to continue writing. I am very excited about the prospect of being part of the team – I doubt I will make anywhere near as much money doing it through them, but you never know.
The main reason I am doing this is because I have been writing and producing my own books with only copy edits and a proof
read and I think going through the process of a structural edit will be good for me.
I have written almost sixty books in thirteen years and as I am now writing around six or seven a year I expect to have more than doubled this by the time I stop. Just hope my readers continue to buy my books and enjoy them, which they seem to be doing at the moment.

 The fifth book in The Duke's Alliance series,A Soldier's Bride, is now available on pre-order on Amazon.  It will be live on 19th April. This is Lord Peregrine's story. He meets and marries a lovely, wilful, wild young lady, Sofia, and they both come to regret this hasty union. Of course, all ends happily.
The final book, which will be Beau's story, will be out in the Autumn. The duke featured strongly in A Soldier's Bride  and I can't wait to find him his HEA.
best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Ellen's War - Blue Skies & Tiger Moths FREE and An ATA Girl now on pre-order.

Pre-order Now.
I  am delighted to tell you that the second instalment of my three book series entitled Ellen's War is now available to preorder on Amazon.  It is called, An ATA Girl.
Ellie finally achieves her ambition to be a member of the ATA and is proud to wear the smart navy blue uniform. Engaged  to Greg, still a close friend to Jack, and both of them in the RAF. Life does not go smoothly for Ellie but she is a strong woman and deals with everything without giving in.
I really enjoyed writing this book and will be writing the third and final part later in the year and this will be published next spring.

The first part of the series which came out last year, Blue Skies & Tiger Moths, is free until 7th March. I'm hoping that anyone who downloads it will enjoy it so much they then preorder the second instalment.

I owe a large part  of my success as a writer to the wonderful covers done for me by J D Smith.

best wishes
Fenella J Miller