Monday, 19 December 2016

2016: A Year in Review

Milestones Reached in 2016......


My Books

Published my 7th book ~ Poison Blood, Book 4: Apocalypse.


1st book series to come to conclusion ~ Poison Blood Series.

In November, Poison Blood, Book 1: Revelation entered the Top 20 Amazon US Bestseller List in the Kindle Free Fairy Tales and Myths category:




And in the Kindle UK Young Adult & Teen Coming of Age Fantasy category:




Published the 3rd book in the Soulmates Saga ~ Someone Like You.



Started writing my 1st 'sweet romance', well as sweet as they get with me :) More details in 2017....


Social Media

Twitter ~ Surpassed 2,500 followers mark in October. Currently have over 3,000 followers!



Blogger ~ Posted my 85th blog post.

Surpassed the 50,000 page views mark on my blog in October. And 70,000 views in December.

1st blog post to get 5,000 views in the first 7 days of posting.

On its 6th day of posting, this blog post got 10,000 views.


Personal

Rated my 200th book on Goodreads.

Caught 120 Pokemon on PokemonGo in 3 weeks.

Went to the WB Harry Potter Studio Tours. See a few pics below :) Super great day!















































Don't forget, my Soulmates Saga is on sale this month!

Amazon US|   Amazon UK|   iBooks   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo |   Smashwords 






Monday, 12 December 2016

CHASING PAVEMENTS #Christmas #Giveaway


I do this every summer and every Christmas. Let readers download my debut novel Chasing Pavements for free.  Every summer to celebrate the anniversary of its launch, and every Christmas because… because it’s Christmas, and because it was Christmas time when I completed the first rough draft of the manuscript, and because the story starts once upon a Christmas...

So it’s not long until Christmas, so join me in celebrating what will be the book’s fifth festive season in market and download your free copy now via:






And also free at these retailers:


Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/chasing-pavements-the-soulmates-saga-book-1

Amazon will price match Chasing Pavements so its FREE for Kindle customers, so make sure to check out this page to get your hands on this series for under $4.50 (books 2 and 3 will have the same sale price on Amazon as other retailers):

https://www.amazon.com/Soulmates-Saga-3-Book/dp/B01FZ4U07I/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8


Chasing Pavements

Would you recognise true love if you saw it?

Singer and songwriter Jamie York is suffering from writer's block. When he meets Mukti, suddenly his creativity knows no bounds and he feels torn. He has to keep seeing her, but what will she make of his tortured soul?

Little does he know that Mukti has her own secrets and is just as troubled as he is. Her name translates as 'freedom' in her native tongue Bengali, but she is anything but free.

Recent graduate Mukti Khan has started a new job in the City and is determined to work hard and keep others at bay. All that changes after a chance encounter with the mysterious Jamie. He fascinates her like no one ever has and she just has to get to know him better.

But is truly capable of letting him in?

As an unlikely friendship develops between the two, will Jamie and Mukti be able to help each other come to terms with their pasts and move forward together, or do some ghosts haunt us forever?

Set in contemporary London, Chasing Pavements is a unique love story between two unique characters that will stay with you long after you have turned the last page.


~ What Others Have Said About Chasing Pavements ~

"Very well written, I felt like I knew the characters myself!"
*****

~~~

"Neha Yazmin's novel grips you from start to finish.  There are so many things I love about this novel.  Jamie's creativity.  Mukti's determination.  Twists and turns with every chapter.  But most of all, I love that you see the characters grow and develop.  When you reach the last page, it feels like you've been on a long journey with them - yet it's a journey that you want to do all over again!" *****

~~~

"This is not your typical chic lit book.  There is no sloppy romance and no mushy words.  This is truly a one of a kind book.  Little by little the story was told to me and it was told perfectly.  I cannot believe this is Neha’s first book.  It is perfect.  This is definitely a must read." *****

~~~

"Chasing Pavements is like one of a kind.  I loved the book.  It touched me in such a way that I felt lost for a while without having Jamie and Mukti in my life.   I can't believe that this is the author's first book; the way it's written is excellent.  I was captured from the beginning of the story.  A must read." *****

~~~

"Unputdownable.  I loved the London setting. The story is well told.  Neha has a way with descriptions that make the scenes really vivid.  The songs were a great mechanism to add to the story telling.  I look forward to reading Neha's other work but I hope I don't have to wait too long!" *****

Also, check out this lovely review from author I.C. Camilleri and check out her books here. Her characters are just as interesting and complex as the ones in the Soulmates Saga. Even though I read The Blake Soul a few years back, I can still remember the story and some scenes are still vivid in my memory! I can't explain how I feel about her liking my book :)




Monday, 5 December 2016

The Perks of Being An #IndieAuthor

~ Freedom and Control ~

These are probably the two main benefits of going indie.

You have the freedom to write what you want to write and what you believe in. Do it your way.

You can choose how you want to structure your book and don't have to answer or explain to anyone else if it's a little unorthodox.

And if it doesn't go well, then you're not left with the bitterness and resentment you'd feel towards agents, editors and publishers if they were the ones you listened to when you'd wanted something else entirely. You make your own choices and your own mistakes, and hopefully learn from them.

If you appoint editors and proofreaders, they can suggest changes and edits, but you can kindly say, "thanks, I see your point, but I'd like to do it this way" if you don't want to alter something that they think you should.

Now, you can say the same thing to the editor at the publisher you're signed to, but for a new author, I imagine it would be a little daunting. There they are, with all their experience and track-records, and here you are, without a published title under your belt, trying to argue your point when you're being advised otherwise by professionals that have done this for years.

I know I'd feel uncomfortable, intimidated even, trying to tell my publisher that I don't want to go with what they're suggesting. And the thing is, they have a lot to lose if a book doesn't sell well, so they won't ask you to make changes that they don't truly believe will make the book more successful. Knowing that, you're more likely to give in, whereas if you were self-publishing, you'd probably stick to your guns.


For example, my debut novel Chasing Pavements starts with a Preface, and the first sentence is: "It was awfully quiet in his head." I wanted this to be the first sentence of my first book. I really like it. I can't see anything wrong with it (so clearly, I don't always follow that strange philosophy that if you can't see a single thing wrong with a sentence/paragraph that you've written, you ought to get rid of it).

But the first person to read Chasing Pavements - one of my oldest friends - absolutely loathed this sentence. She said she just didn't get it, and fought hard to get me to delete it and start with something else. I can't remember what her argument was - and I'm sure it must have been a valid one - but she did her best to convince me that it was the wrong sentence to start the book with.

If I was signed to an agent or publisher, they wouldn't have had to urge me half as much as my friend did to get that sentence removed. I probably would have agreed as soon as they voiced their distaste of it the second time (the time after I'd said, quite meekly, that I quite like that sentence). This would be because of what I've explained above - I'd think they know best because of their experience and wealth of knowledge, and because the success or failure of the book would affect them big time.

Needless to say, I didn't heed my friend's advice and kept the first sentence the way I wanted it. And it's only because I have the freedom to do so and have control over what feedback I take on board and what I don't.

Chasing Pavements is free to download this month, at the below retailers:

Amazon US|   Amazon UK|   iBooks   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo |   Smashwords 





Thursday, 1 December 2016

This #December ~ CHASING PAVEMENTS #Giveaway

Almost every year, I give away free copies of my debut novel, Chasing Pavements. There's no limit to the number of books I give away, no multiple-choice question that you have to answer to be entered into a prize draw and winners aren't selected at random.

Everybody that wants to win, will win.


This is because I make Chasing Pavements free at the below retailers for the whole of December and anyone and everyone that wants to download a copy can do so:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | B&N Nook | Kobo | Smashwords 


So, don't miss out on this chance to get your (digital) hands on the first book of the Soulmates Saga. Chasing Pavements introduces you to troubled soulmates Mukti and Jamie and sets the scene wonderfully for the next two instalments in the series, Make You Feel My Love and Someone Like You.

This year, I've also decided to slash the prices of the other two books in the series ~ Make You Feel My Love is down from $2.99 to $1.99 and Someone Like You is down from $2.99 to $2.49.

That's three books for only $4.48.


It's my chance to say thank you to the lovely people that follow and support me on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and Blogger. I really appreciate every re-tweet, every like, every time a post of mine is shared, spreading the word for my books - so Thank You!

And by giving away free copies of my books, I increase the chances of being read.

In saying that, the likelihood of my free book being read is still pretty low. Readers that download free ebooks and also purchase books with their hard-earned cash, are more likely to read the books they buy than the ones given away for free. In fact, some free books just sit in readers' digital shelves and never get read. I have a few of those on my Kindle and iPhone! Therefore, it's a good idea to give away free books quite frequently, if not making them perma-free. And a good cover goes a long way in getting people to read the free books they download.

If you would like to read the blurb and a spoiler-free Q&A on Chasing Pavements, click here.



Monday, 28 November 2016

Tip for Writers: #BookCoverDesign

I'm writing this post because of three reasons. First, ever since I revealed the rose motif covers of books 3 and 4 of my Poison Blood Series, comments have been flooding in about how cool they are. It reminded me that the covers for books 1 and 2 also received similar praise when they were first revealed in 2012.



I have a confession to make about these covers: Although I really like them, this design was not what I had in mind for these books. What I really wanted wasn't possible though. Not at that time. But I promised myself that I'd update the covers one day, with something that was close to what I'd initially hoped for. Of course life got in the way, and updating the covers to my vampire romance/paranormal romance/urban fantasy series had to wait. Wait a long time. Four years, to be precise.

Luckily, the simple covers didn't hinder downloads too badly (books 1 and 2 were downloaded over 30,000 with minimal promotion on my part - a few readers even purchased them with actual money from the Kindle store because I had been unable to make them free there), but I wonder if they would've been even more successful had the covers been better. Well, I'll find out soon enough because I finally updated the covers earlier this month. This is what they look like now:




Second reason for this post: I have experience of making my own book covers and using professionally produced ones (the below cover for Chasing Pavements, Soulmates Saga, Book 1 was designed by Peter at BespokeBookCovers.com), so I think I can offer a tip or two about the processes:



And third... You'll have to read to the end of this post to find out :) 

Funnily enough, the covers I made myself are the ones that seem to have grabbed everyone's attention (I didn't get any comments when I revealed the professionally designed cover for Chasing Pavements).

Anyway, book covers. DIY or hire a pro? If you have the funds - and are willing to spend those funds on professionally designed covers - then by all means hire a designer. They will do all the hard work for you, they have the software and experience, and you'll end up with a nice-looking cover

But choose your designer wisely. Shop around. Do your research. Read about their processes and look through their galleries on their websites. Make sure to read the small-print and see how many revisions/drafts they offer after first showing you what they've created. Some firms will only change the cover only one or two times. So, be careful there.

Now, the most important tips about the design of the cover:

IT SHOULD BE EYE-CATCHING.

IT SHOULD MAKE READERS PICK UP YOUR BOOK TO READ THE BLURB.

For e-books, your cover SHOULD MAKE CUSTOMERS STOP SCROLLING DOWN THE SITE WHEN THEY SEE IT AND CLICK ON THE LINK THAT LEADS TO THE BLURB OF YOUR BOOKS.

IT SHOULD MAKE CLEAR THE GENRE OF THE BOOK, but it's not supposed to tell the story (that's a job for your blurb).

The cover should do the hard work and take readers to the next segment of the sales pitch - the blurb. The cover is the most important part of the pitch, because if it doesn't do its job - grab the attention of the browsing customer - then you don't have anyone looking at the blurb. You might have a really good novel, an excellent blurb, but who'll know about it if your cover doesn't stop readers and entice them to learn more about your book?

So, when you approach designers to make you a cover, I'd advise you to NOT ASK THEM TO MAKE THE COVER OF YOUR DREAMS, the cover you've always pictured in your head. Because, let's face it, we think about the cover of our book while writing/editing them, and we usually picture a specific scene from the book on the cover, almost like a film poster. But to an unsuspecting reader, scenes from the story mean little to them, because THEY HAVEN'T READ YOUR BOOK YET. They won't get it. They don't need to get it. They just have to like your cover enough to go on and read the blurb.

And KEEP CHANGING THE COVER UNTIL IT STARTS WORKING FOR YOU. I don't mean change it every day/week/month, but every few months if it seems like its not atttracting readers.

That might be a bit pricey though, if you're hiring a designer to continually create new cover art for you. Luckily, there are plenty of sites that have very reasonably priced ready-made covers for you to choose from. You just pick the one you like (PICK THE MOST EYE-CATCHING OF ALL, PROVIDED IT SUITS THE GENRE), e-mail them the text you want on the cover (i.e. book name, author name, series name, tag-line etc.) and they make the quick edits and send you the finished product. You might end up with your brand-spanking new cover within a few hours. How awesome is that?

Whatever avenue you take, remember one thing:

YOUR BOOK COVER SHOULD HELP SELL YOUR STORY, NOT HELP TELL YOUR STORY.

Now, some more tips on book cover design, these slightly more specific.


Cover Concept ~ Keep it Simple

For my first vampire romance/urban fantasy book, Poison Blood, Book 1: Revelation, I chose the image of a black rose, which represents death and re-birth. 

Vampires are humans that die and are re-born as immortals, and this book looks at how the main character Ellie became a vampire, so the black rose symbolism was perfect

I also wanted some blood on the cover. So I added a spot of blood dripping from the rose. And that was my simple cover concept.

TIP: If you go with flowers, butterflies, trees, things that vary in size and colour, you can continue with those in your covers for the sequels, changing the variety, colour etc. each time. Which is exactly what I did for the Poison Blood covers!


The Right Font for The Genre

The title of the book should fit in with the whole cover, and it shouldn't take the focus away from the key image in the cover. More than anything, it should communicate to readers the genre of the book. Finding the right font is tricky (for me anyway) and it really depends on how it looks with the cover as a whole. 

In my rose motif PB covers, I used two different types of fonts, which isn't uncommon. Usually, the author name will be a different, simpler, cleaner font to the book title. I used the same font (a slightly fancy one, but not too over the top) for author name and book sub-title, and a simpler, bolder font for the main part of the title. Ideally, the author name should be simpler and different to the font used in the book title, but I think I just about got away with it there :)


And the BIG Reveal...

The third reason I decided to write this post on book covers is.... drum-roll please....

I've given the Soulmates Saga book covers a make-over! Again. Why? Many reasons, mainly I just want to try something new and take the advice that I've given on book cover design in this post. I've done the whole 'film poster' design for this series and it's out of my system. Now, I just want a simple design that makes clear the genre of the books and fits in with covers in this genre. So here they are:







 

I hope this post has been useful in some way or another. Good luck with getting your covers right, whether they're DIY or pro.


Thank you for reading this post. If you're interested in my debut novel, click the image below to learn more about it:
 


Like all my other books, it's also available on:
iBooks   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo |   Smashwords 


Book Details

Length: 110,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Clean Romance / Diverse Romance / Interracial Romance / Romantic Drama / Women’s Fiction

Mood: Inspirational / Feel Good / Coming of Age / Dark
Content: Sexy but No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: New Adult & College / Adult / Female Readers

Recommended for: Readers that enjoy romance novels with serious issues and characters with depth. This is a story about life, love, friendship, family, music, art, destiny and soul mates.


And the first two books in my urban fantasy/paranormal romance series, the Poison Blood series, can be downloaded for free via:

Amazon USAmazon UK|   iBooks US & UK   |   B&N Nook Store   |   Smashwords



PB1 Book Details

Length: 29,000 words
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Vampire Romance / Paranormal Fantasy / Urban Fantasy / Science Fiction & Fantasy

Mood: Dark / Humorous / Coming of age
Content: No violence / No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: Teen / Young Adult / New Adult / Adult
Recommended for: Readers that love all things vampires, slayers and witches!