Book Review – Project Darcy by Jane Odiwe

Image

If you love Jane Austen’s work, but are slightly overwhelmed by the many prequels and sequels available on the market, something slightly different would certainly fit the bill to savour those Austen cravings. Project Darcy is just that; It has all the charm and wit of Austen, with the twist to keep you enthralled throughout.

Starting off with just a hint here and there of the mystery to be revealed, Jane Odiwe tempts you to read page after page. You’ll recognise certain attributes of Pride and Prejudice along the way, with modern characters intertwining with the beloved Bennet sisters and of course Darcy and Bingley. You’ll also gain glimpses of the lady herself, set in her home of Steventon Rectory. The flashbacks to see a young Jane Austen were wonderfully written and delicately done. A delight for any Jane Austen fan to read.

Writing much more about this wonderful could possibly spoil the twists and turns along the way, so I will leave it to you to find out more!

Advertisements

Book Review – A Scandalous Life, Mary S. Lovell

Image

 

This may have been a scandalous life for its time and even today, but it has to be said that it was a mightily beautiful one. Filled with the awe inspiring love that Jane Digby lived by, ‘A Scandalous Life’ is as powerful, strong minded and passionate as Jane Digby herself. The descriptions of her lives firstly in Georgian England, Europe and lastly the desert had me gripped from beginning to end. Mary S. Lovell has done wonders in the telling of an amazing woman.

Other reviews have mentioned the lack of knowledge surrounding Jane Digby, labelling her as ‘no one in-particular’. I have to say, that this is narrow minded when you read about this fabulous woman and the passion behind her every move in life. This story is worth a hundred of some other biographies of a more well known figure. This life is, some would say, a hidden gem.

Website vs Blog – What’s the difference?

Many authors will use a blog in one form or another during their career, whether it be as an online base, through book tours or guest interviews. Blogs build valuable social circles and can offer exposure to authors trying to reach a wider audience. Being a guest on a blog and giving an interview, for example, reaches out to a much wider audience than an author could ever hope to achieve in isolation.

There is however a mistake some authors (and other professionals) have come to make, and that is to use a blog as a website, when it simply cannot function in the same manner. There are some certain blog software’s which enable a more ‘website based’ display of content, but this can be tricky to build and usually requires a professional.

The difference between a blog and website is critical, and when considering your online promotion, you need to be fully aware of ‘what’s what’.

  • A blog could be classed as an online newsletter. It consists of continuous ‘posts’ of new material or articles which keep visitors coming back to see what’s new.
  • A website contains more static content and elements, each page having information that doesn’t change constantly, but that is updated when necessary and most importantly easily navigable and visible at all times.

Each have their own benefits, and should be used in conjunction with eachother  but a blog is not a website and a website is not a blog. Sounds like someone trying to explain cricket rules, doesn’t it?! Let me give you an example:

  • Blog – An author can use their own blog as an interaction tool, much like Twitter or Facebook. It’s a fantastic way of reaching your adoring readers, encouraging conversations and researching what your readers like and want more of. Authors may also use blogs to post news of what they’ve been up to, where they’ve been or the latest news on their work in progress. This can be very captivating, and the constant updating of the latest post keeps it fresh (as well as being search engine friendly), however what happens when a potential reader wants to know the link to buy that book you mentioned a few weeks ago? They would need to search through the blog archive, or spend an age scrolling down and down the page to find it. Realistically, that’s simply asking for them to close the page and look elsewhere. It’s too much hassle, and we all know how impatient internet users can be. Blogs are fantastic additions to a website, but to stand the best chance of making the most of online marketing, you will need a website. Blogs can also be very time consuming, and in order to prove useful, they need to be updated frequently, so before venturing on one, ensure you  have the time to post at least once a week.
  • Website – A website is set out much like like a book. It may have several or hundreds of pages, but they’re all laid out in an easy to navigate menu, where the information relating to each page is kept. For instance many authors will use a combination of these pages: Home, About the Author, Books, News & Reviews, Excerpt, Contact. You see how easy it would be for any potential reader to find what they were looking for? This is the vital difference between a website and a blog, and it’s creating that ease of navigation which will encourage visitors to explore and find what they need, whether that’s more information on the Author (go to the About the Author page) or a new book (go to the Book page). Because the information is static, it’s always there. It can be updated from time to time, but it won’t disappear in a multitude of posts like on a blog, making that important information visible at all times. The nature and frequency a blog is updated however, makes it extremely search engine friendly, and if embedded or linked with your website can increase its popularity even further.

So lets end with a cliche this time, shall we? It’s Quality, not quantity.

Why Authors Need A Website.

The question often arises of exactly why an author needs a website, and there are many reasons to consider. One of the most vital being because agents, publishers and most importantly readers expect you to. So what are you waiting for?! Not explanation enough? Read on…

‘I really wish every author had either a website or Twitter account. Makes me sad they won’t be interacting with readers.’  –          @readingGals

The above was genuinely taken from Twitter, written by a fairly disappointed reader. Whomever the author is that they’re referring to is making a dreadful mistake. Doesn’t it just say it all?

As an author, you are unknowingly losing out on a vast amount of opportunities (not just sales!) if you do not have a website. Readers take more and more time to research authors and their books online in today’s market, and you are losing out on valuable interaction and potential sales by not investing and embracing what is one on the worlds most effective promotional tools.

Displaying your work on other websites, such as your publisher or retailers simply isn’t good enough. The book market is extremely overcrowded and readers are more likely to be distracted by other works or adverts on the websites where more than your books are on offer. Needle. Haystack. Enough said.

Having your own website enables that important element of control, enabling you to brand your design to attract and engage the readers in your genre. It uses the same concept as a cover design, which your publisher or graphic designer has worked so hard to perfect. If the design of your cover isn’t carefully considered, you’re in danger of losing a sale to the book next door. In addition  your own website can be continuously updated, making it the centre of your promotion.

“Here’s a copy of my book, I hope you like it, but you may not. Probably not. Maybe?” – No success ever came from lacking confidence in your own work. If you portray yourself though your website as a professional, that confidence will also reflect on your work. A poorly designed website on the other hand, can immediately give a death sentence to your reader looking any further.

No successful author would forgo a website for the simple reason that they understand the importance of reaching out to their readership in whatever way they can. A website can be hugely successful and exciting to create. Whether you do it yourself or brief a designer, make it professional and ensure it’s worthy of displaying your work.

The process can be daunting to some authors too, but really, you braved the agents and publishers, dipping your toes into the publishing pool, you can do this too…