Oak And Mist – On Sale!


In case you missed it in yesterday’s post

To celebrate the release of Under Stone, the fourth book in my Ambeth series, Oak and Mist, the first book in the series, is currently on sale until the end of January, for the rather cheeky price of 99p/99c in the Kindle store!

‘The end of everything? Great. No pressure then.’

Pushed between two trees at her local park, Alma finds herself in another world. Ambeth. Where a Palace gleams in green gardens by the sea, and the Balance of the worlds is held.

However, all is not as perfect as it seems. Three items are lost. A Sword, A Cup and a Crown. Light and Dark are embroiled in an ancient battle for control.

And both sides have been waiting for Alma to arrive…

So, if you’ve ever fancied taking a journey to Ambeth, now’s the time to start. Get your discounted e-book copy of Oak and Mist here.

But only till the end of January!

If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, Under Stone (Ambeth Chronicles #4), is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.


New Year, New Book! Launch Day for Under Stone

What better way to start the new year than with a brand new book? Under Stone, the fourth instalment of my Ambeth Chronicles, is now live on Amazon! Get your copy here.

‘Help will come to you, Alma, you will not be alone.’

Accepting her new powers hasn’t been easy for Alma. Nor has finding out the truth about her father. And she’s still not sure about the prophecy, or about going back to Ambeth. But the Dark are gathering, Denoris on her trail. Deryck hasn’t forgotten about her either… Events past and present converge on a small Welsh town as Alma, and the Dark, choose their path. Who will reach the Cup first?

I’m thrilled to be starting the year with a new title and, for those of you who are new to Ambeth, Oak and Mist, the first book in the series, is 99p/99c to download in the Kindle store, but only until the end of January.

So what are you waiting for? New year, new series – take a journey to Ambeth.


New Week, New Writing Leaf

Last week I wrote about a writing wobble, and you were all so lovely, giving me encouragement and reminding me what it is I love so much about this blogging community – thank you all so much for your support.

This week I have a week off, the first in while, and I’m back where Ambeth began, the park where Alma disappears between the trees just a few minutes’ drive away. Today I’m heading further west to Wales, where her story continues, and I’m hoping that the combination of some free time and seeing these places again will immerse me fully into that world once more.

For now I am re-reading Under Stone, making small adjustments but not yet quite ready to don my editing hat. Which is kind of a problem, as I’m supposed to be doing Camp NaNo, and the edit is my project. Oh well. We can only do what we can do.

And perhaps, that is the lesson here. That you can’t force things. That, unless we’re lucky enough to be able to write full-time, life has to be addressed. The creative urge is a powerful one, for writers no less than any other, and it can be difficult, sometimes, to find that balance. I know for me that my blogging life is not as active as it once was, and I am woefully behind when it comes to reading, my TBR pile teetering, my Kindle stuffed with unread titles.

Still, it’s not the end of the world, is it? To be able to inhabit other worlds, whether as a writer or a reader, is a privilege. And I remain forever grateful.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.



An Experiment with Facebook Promotion*


*Before we begin, I’d like to clarify that this promotion was not by using paid ads through Facebook, but rather by contacting community pages on Facebook for promotion.

I recently ran a five-day free promotion for Oak and Mist, the first book in my Ambeth series. I’d run one before, back in September last year, and had rather good results, with around 4500 copies downloaded, several paperbacks sold, a few good reviews and a large increase in my KENP numbers. I’d supported that promotion with three days of paid advertising, as well as blog posts, which were picked up and shared via many lovely bloggers.

I wasn’t expecting lightning to strike in the same place twice, but, as the third Ambeth book is due to come out soon, I thought I’d give it another go and hopefully attract some new readers to the series. This time I decided to supplement the promotion via Facebook. This was for a couple of reasons – first, my budget wasn’t huge, so searching out free or low-cost options suited me. Second, I kind of stuffed up in terms of booking any paid advertising, so ended up with only the first day of the promotion advertised through Booksends. However, I’d read a recent blog where the author had used Facebook as part of his promotion and had garnered an astonishing number of downloads, so thought it worth trying.

And here’s what happened:

I approached three different pages, Free Kindle Books UK, Free Kindle Books and Free Kindle Books – Community. I sent them each a universal link to Oak and Mist, plus some information about the book and the dates of the promotion, and did so a few days before my promo was due to start.

Free Kindle Books UK were great – they ran a promotion on the first day, which was then picked up and shared. I also had some lovely blogging friends share the promo through their own blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter – thank you all so much for the support. This, coupled with the paid ad through Booksends, meant I had a fairly respectable first day of downloads, about 500 in total.

When I approached Free Kindle Books – Community, their page directed me to their website, Free Kindle Books 4u dot com. I went there and checked their submission requirement, which stated that, due to high demand, they could only guarantee me a spot if I made a ‘donation.’ This donation would, however, make my book a featured title for the duration of my promotion and, as the recommended amount started at $5, it seemed a pretty good deal. The page was updated daily and there were plenty of titles on offer, as well as a ‘Featured’ column where, I presumed, my book would be. So I paid $10, submitted my link and that was that.


On the 23rd of February, halfway through my promotion, I checked their site. My book was not featured, nor had it been posted at all. When I did a title search it did eventually show up, but the listing was from my original promotion in the previous September. I had not submitted my book to them at that time, so I can only presume they pull offers from the web and post them, hoping to entice authors such as myself into making ‘donations’, with the impression that we would get promotion as promised in return. I emailed them to enquire, but to date have had no response. So, definitely not recommended.

And finally, Free Kindle Books. They have about 50,000 followers, so I thought they would be a good bet. Once again I was directed to an external website, where a number of packages were available for advertising there. I messaged them, saying I only wanted a Facebook promotion and could they let me know if it was possible. I didn’t receive a reply until the last day of my promotion – it stated that they would be happy to run a post for me on that day, but could I please do them a favour in return.

Visions of all sorts running through my head, I cautiously messaged back, What sort of favour? It turned out that the favour was to purchase a book for 99c, then leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. I messaged back saying I was always happy to support fellow indies, but couldn’t guarantee I would leave a review. I don’t review every book I read, and won’t leave negative reviews for books as I feel it’s unfair to the author – opinions can be very subjective and just because I don’t like something, doesn’t mean someone else won’t love it. Anyway. I also asked her if this was a standard part of promotion for their page.

She replied that it was, and that she understood I may not be able to leave her a review, however, she hoped I would enjoy the books (my 99c bought me a five-book set). In the end we had a very civil exchange of messages, and, as I felt that 99c was cheap to reach a potential 50,000 readers, I went ahead and did notice a small surge in download numbers on the last day.

So there you have it. In the end I gave away about 800 books, not a huge amount compared to my previous promotion, but still not bad. I also sold a few more copies of No Quarter, received some great feedback comments from readers, and my KENP numbers have surged again. I’m not sure whether I’ll offer Oak and Mist free again – perhaps I might consider it when the last book comes out and there is a full set – but feel both promotions have been a success as I’ve definitely increased my readership. As for using the Facebook community for promotion? I’m still of two minds about it.

How about you? Have you used Facebook to promote your books? And did you get positive results? Look forward to hearing your comments.





Published! No Quarter

Front Cover Image


I’ve made it through the formatting maze and have (deep breath), hit the ‘Publish’ button on both Kindle and Createspace, which means that No Quarter is now available on Amazon!

Amazon.co.uk    Amazon.com    Amazon.com.au

‘Alma, even I do not know what he is capable of…’

Things couldn’t be better for Alma. She’s returned the lost Sword to Ambeth and is finally with Deryck, Prince of the Dark. But what’s really going on? Deryck is struggling with his father, who wants to control Alma, while Alma is struggling with her best friend Caleb, who doesn’t trust Deryck one inch. Plus it’s getting harder and harder to keep up with her life in the human world. Falling in love shouldn’t be this difficult. But things are about to get much worse…

Quests and friendship all fall by the wayside when there’s romance to be had. Plus, spending time with handsome Deryck is much more appealing than with an increasingly angry Caleb. The Light are always on about making choices, so they shouldn’t have a problem with her choosing to be with Deryck. Besides, he’ll protect her from his father – won’t he?

Now I might take a couple of days off 🙂 See you next week!

xx Helen

A Marketing Experiment – Follow-up

Oak And Mist final cover

Last week, I wrote a post about a marketing experiment I was doing, the main objective being to increase my readership and, hopefully, generate some interest in my upcoming new release, No Quarter. I decided to offer Oak and Mist, the first book in the series, free on Amazon for a limited time, hoping to capitalise on some positive reviews.

Front Cover Image

I took advantage of the free five day promotion from Amazon, part of being enrolled in KDP Select. You get five days out of every ninety to list your book as free – you can either run the days all together, or break them into separate promotions. I chose to run the five days together, hoping to maximise my exposure. I also ran three paid advertisements during the promotion – one with Booksends, one with E Reader News Today, and one with Robin Reads.

So how did it go?

I ended up having 4415 people download Oak and Mist for free. Even if only twenty per cent of those people actually read the book, I’ve still substantially increased my readership, and potentially will be able to sell subsequent instalments in the series. I also noticed a large increase in my KENP pages, for which I get paid royalties, and sold several paperbacks as well. I received a new 5 star rating on GoodReads, and several more people on GoodReads marked Oak and Mist as ‘currently reading.’

Screen Grab #8 on Amazon

In terms of the paid advertising, I ran ads on the first, fourth and fifth day of the promotion, and on each of those days my downloads increased dramatically to over a thousand per day, propelling me into the top ten Amazon free books (I reached number 8). The days on which I did not advertise averaged at about three hundred downloads. I supported the promotion with a couple of tweets per day – most of which were picked up and retweeted. I was also fortunate to receive some wonderful support from fellow bloggers (you know who you are, and thank you once again!). Chris The Story Reading Ape was kind enough to post a promotion on his site, which was then reposted by several other bloggers.

In conclusion, this was a successful marketing exercise for me. I’ve increased the audience for my books and, hopefully generated some momentum for No Quarter, the second novel in my Ambeth series. The KENP and paperback royalties I received as a result of the increased exposure have already covered much of my advertising costs, and it was wonderful to get another five-star rating. I believe the complete results of this promotion are yet to be seen, and will be keeping an eye on reviews and reader stats over the coming weeks.


I write books because I want people to read them. I love Ambeth and the characters who live there, and it gives me great pleasure when other people enjoy the books. I had no problem in offering my work free for a limited time, and will definitely be employing a similar promotional strategy when I release Hills and Valleys, the third book in the series.

I’d love to hear about your own marketing experiences, and whether they were successful or not. I think our blogging community is such a great and generous resource for self-published authors – I know I’ve learnt so much already.

Thanks for reading 🙂