Just to make it clear, this is not a contest that people can vote on. This is an entirely subjective and preference-driven selection process. Book Squirrel knows what he likes, and that’s what he reads. When he reads, he always leaves a review. And on the Book Squirrel blog, he awards gold, silver or bronze acorns instead of a star rating system.
At the end of the year, he chooses the best of the books he has read and reviewed, and gives some nice shiny awards to the wonderful authors who entertained and enlightened him in the past twelve months.
This year, gold and silver awards were given to books in 20 genres, across a variety of age ranges, interests and styles.
While Book Squirrel is fully committed to being as fair and impartial as a squirrel can be, so you can be sure that the winners of Golden Squirrel Awards are excellent reads, and worthy of recognition.
As a promoter of Indie books and Indie authors, I’m always trying to find different ways to help authors put their books in front of readers.
The ever-changing and often-frustrating Facebook algorithm means that Facebook is becoming less and less fruitful for book promotion. My own recent frustration with that particular platform has provided further encouragement to look further afield.
This isn’t particularly devastating for me, as I have always believed that it’s better not to keep all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. My aim has always been to spread my promotions as widely as ever, and I have applied this principle to my promotions of others’ books as well as my own.
From the outset of my writing career, I have worked hard to build good reach on a variety of social media platforms. I have grown my following organically, through engagement and sharing, so that my audience is one actually interested in my content. That has paid off in the form of followers who respond in a positive way: with likes, shares, comments and engagement.
That is why I have confidence in Book Squirrel’s new promotional feature.
The ‘Book of the Week’ promotion provides a blog post including the book’s cover and blurb, and two reviews of the author’s choice from Amazon or Goodreads. This blog post is then shared throughout the week on Twitter and Pinterest in addition to Facebook. A “Book of the Week” post is also made on Instagram.
The social media posts will be accompanied by clear, attractive images like this:
As with all of Book Squirrel’s promotions, the price is deliberately set to be affordable for Indie authors on a tight budget. After all, I know what it’s like to want to promote your book, and not have at least $50 to make it happen.
Yesterday afternoon I took some friends to one of my favourite bookstores — which I lovingly refer to as book rescue shelters — in Bendigo.
While looking through the Historical Fiction section, I was delighted to find two books from the ‘Plantagenet Embers’ series by Samantha Wilcoxson that I really enjoy.
What made that such a cool thing for me is that Samantha is an Indie author from Michigan with whom I have interacted on social media. I have read several of her books on Kindle, and they are really well written.
As Indies, most of our sales are on Kindle, Kobo or other ebook stores. We don’t get big, fancy distribution via a global publishing company. so it’s great to see that Samantha’s papaerbacks have made it to Australia! That’s really exciting! And now I own two of them, because I knew right away I couldn’t leave them there.
These are excellent books that I am proud to have in my collection. And now that I have books 2 and 3, I may have to see if I can buy a signed copy of book 1 direct from the author. That would be an awesome addition to my bookshelf!
One of the things I do in all the spare time I don’t have is creating book promotion for other Indie authors.
Over the past few years, I have learned a lot about creating promotional images, writing effective tweets, putting images and text together for different platforms and using it all to put books in front of people who hopefully want to read them.
Ironically, it’s a process that works better when you are advertising someone else’s book and not your own. If I tell a person that Charlie’s book is good, they are likely to take my words at face value. When I tell them my book is good, they tend to assume I have no idea.
I have been pondering these things afresh while organising the preorder promo for ‘A Rose By Any Other Name’.
Despite my obvious bias, it’s up to me to get my book seen by readers. How can I make people want to read my book? How can I pique their interest? How can I get their attention?
Those are the million dollar questions every author or promoter mst ask.
The key lies in making them attractive to the target audience. An interesting story, well written and thoroughly edited, proofread, checked, formatted and checked again. A great cover that catches the eye and suits both the story and the genre. Promo images that are varied in colour and style, relevant to the story and genre, using clear and appropriate fonts. Not too wordy, and not too plain.
Hopefully, those things will combine to have a positive effect. The fact is, before you can sell the book, you have to be able to sell the idea of the book. That’s why blurbs and taglines matter. That’s why a cleverly worded tweet will sometimes have more effect than a beautifully written excerpt.
Don’t get me wrong. A great excerpt is an effective way to win a reader, but you’ve still got to make people want to read it in the first place. So, for the next ten days until the book’s release date on June 14, I have prepared a bunch of teeets, some short Facebook posts, three different 16×9 promotional images ideal for Facebook and Twitter, and three square promo images for Instagram.
There are hints but no spoilers. There is a mixture of information, humour and invitation. The hashtags are varied so that I reach more users than if I just stick to four or five basic tags. The images are different colours and styles, but all consistent with the story and genre.
Every post must have:
A promotional image that includes the book cover
Some information about the story or character
Clear indication of the genre
The link for ordering/buying the book
A mixture of popular and useful hashtags
My goal is to achieve preorders for my book so that it has some sales momentum as soon as it launches, and then to continue promoting it to generate sales after that. That means creating different images, different tweets, and so on, on a regular basis. There is, after all, no such thing as “set and forget” promotion.
Carmilla Voiez is a proudly bisexual and mildly autistic introvert who finds writing much easier than verbal communication. A life long Goth, living with two kids, two cats and a poet by the sea. She is passionate about horror, the alt scene, intersectional feminism, art, nature and animals. When not writing, she gets paid to hang out in a stately home and entertain tourists.
Her books are both extraordinarily personal and universally challenging. As Jef Withonef of Houston Press once said – “You do not read her books, you survive them.”
Carmilla’s bibliography includes Starblood (Vamptasy Publishing, Dec 2018), Starblood the graphic novel, Psychonaut the graphic novel, The Ballerina and the Revolutionary, Broken Mirror and Other Morbid Tales.
Carmilla writes horror that is female-orientated supernatural horror, full of demons and seriously flawed women.
Starblood. Book 1 of 4 in the Starblood series.
Star craves freedom, but her lover, Satori, refuses to let her go. He casts a spell to make her love him again, opening a gateway through which Lilith, mother of demons, enters their lives. Lilith serves no man. Instead she seduces Star, assuring her that there is no shame in love, only completion. Thus begins a strange and terrible love triangle that leads them to Scotland and the Cairngorm mountains.
Reader Review: “ A genius work of contemporary fiction. Should become a future Horror classic. Highly recommend *****” on Amazon
Broken Mirror and Other Morbid Tales
Thirteen tales of the macabre from horror author Carmilla Voiez. Meet a confused ghost, a vampire, searching for love, and a woman bent on revenge; visit a gateway to hell, a hotel in faery and an abandoned asylum, in this unique collection of stories. Includes the novella Basement Beauty.
Reader Review: “ I found my mind drifting back to the various tales at all times of the day, they got under my skin and haunted me long after I powered down my kindle. At the end of a story, you emerge bloodied, battered and genuinely grateful to have survived. It’s what horror should be like; raw, frightening and thought provoking.” on Amazon
Joanne is an Australian writer of horror, poetry, and occasionally fantasy stories. Her tag line is ‘Poetry with soul. Horror with none.”
She lives near Warrnambool in regional Victoria, Australia, with her husband and two furbabies. She spends four days a week teaching senior high school English, History and Drama/Production. She is an active member and performer in Camperdown Theatre Company. Her hobbies include reading, music, travel and photography.
Joanne loves travelling, and has visited many places in Australia as well as holidaying in New Zealand, Fiji, the USA and Canada at different times. Other than Australia, eastern Canada is her favourite place in the world, and she’s proud to have been adopted as an ‘honorary Canadian’.
Joanne is the author of thought-provoking and profound poetry, horror and short stories. She has won a number of awards for her books ‘New Horizons’, ‘Nova’ and ‘The Silver Feather’.
Joanne writes horror with a strong element of poetic justice, especially those stories that focus on Friday, a magical black cat with a devilishly strong sense of right and wrong. Other stories explore various types of horror – fright, the unexplained, fear of the unknown, and the macabre.
The Silver Feather
A graveyard. A talisman. A confrontation with evil personified.
When Phil loses the girl he loves, life as he knows it comes to a screeching halt. Little does he realise that there is so much more yet to be lost.
A haunting, macabre tale that will please all lovers of horror and dark fiction.
Reader Review: ” A delightful tale that begins in the prosaic world of unrequited high school romance, only to suddenly veer into a shadowed realm of loss, violence and evil. Van Leerdam’s writing is crisp and insightful, her protagonist achingly real, and I guarantee you will devour this dark confection in a single sitting. Highly recommended.” on Amazon
Lac du Mort and Other Stories
From the macabre to the deeply disturbing, Lac Du Mort and Other Stories delivers eight chilling tales that will please lovers of horror and dark fiction.
These macabre tales that will make you look over your shoulder at moments you never expected to.
Reader Review: “Well written, fresh horror grabbing at the reader from a the first story. A few tales stab at the mind, some tear away at blood and bone. We get one visit to hell. I am a fan.” on Amazon
Stories about a magical black cat, superstition and strange events. Friday is a black cat with a lucky habit of being present when curious things take place.He’s highly intelligent, fiercely loyal and devilishly handsome.
Curious Things delivers thirteen stories of people encountering justice for their wrongdoings, all as Friday watches on. Is he responsible? Or is it just lucky coincidence that he is present when these strange events take place?
If you’ve ever wished for karma to move a little faster, indulged in uncharitable thoughts about certain annoying people, or suspected that having a black cat cross your path was not quite as unlucky as people seem to think, this book is for you.
Reader Review: “Vengeance may be sweet—but, meting out justice vigilante-style just isn’t practical. Then along comes Friday, a black cat whose intelligence and curiosity gets the better of those who deserve their just desserts. Obvious or implied, Friday shows up where the wrath of Biblical justice is called for. And, it’s so gratifying to watch the gruesome details unfold!” on Amazon
Sylvermoon Chronicles is an annual short story anthology created by The Confederacy of the Quill, an international writers’ cooperative. I am very proud to have one of my stories, Contaminus, included in the 2019 issue of this highly regarded anthology series.
While the book releases on Valentines Day, it should not be mistaken for a romance collection.
Rather, I like to think of it as a gift for those who, like me, would sooner read genres other than lovey-dovey romance, and a welcome distraction from all the kissy-face sentimentality often associated with February 14th. The Sylvermoon Chronicles series features stories in the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Adventure.
It is an honor to be published in a series which I have very much enjoyed as a reader, alongside a number of authors whose work I have previously read, reviewed and fangirled over. I was both excited and slightly surprised when my story was accepted, especially given the inspiration behind the writing of Contaminus.
New worlds await you in the newest Sylvermoon Chronicles collection, which hit the shelves today. The ebook is widely available now, and the paperback will be available soon.
Lily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula. Her Coven Series has successfully topped Amazon’s Hot New Releases list consecutively. She is also the editor, curator and contributing author of Vamptasy Publishing’s Damsels of Distress anthology, which celebrates strong female characters in horror and paranormal fiction.
Lily was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.
In Lily’s Own Words:
The horror I write is mostly urban fantasy mixed with horror. My author tagline is “horror with heart” because I believe, deep down, everything has light in it. Whether it’s a rogue vampire in the streets of Downtown Chicago or demons controlled by Nazis in World War Two, a story has to be more than just darkness, more than the “gore factor”. A true horror story has to have heart. It’s why the horror elements are elevated: when characters (and readers) are given something to care about, what rips it away is even worse. And I firmly believe, even in the most horrific situations, light wins in the end.
My stories are more than violence, though I have plenty of that. My stories are about people. The characters drive the stories, and in caring about them, you find yourself cringing when they’re injured, or when they fail to prevent an innocent victim from being torn to pieces or having their soul eaten.My books are about the half vampire who hates existing, disgusted by her hunger for blood. They’re about a psychic who wants to die rather than dream about those he cares for being tortured. A siren who was persecuted, first for being a monster and again for being Jewish. They’re about a teenage girl who has to fight against the evil that lives in her veins.Horror is more than a monster or torture. Horror is what lurks in the dark corners of our minds.
Stake-Out (Paranormal Detectives Book One)
In a city overrun with the undead, an ex-cop is given a chance to get revenge… Danny Mancini is on a case, following a murder suspect. When he catches him, he finds out that the perp isn’t even human: he’s a 200 year old rogue vampire! The department doesn’t believe him, and puts him on early retirement, despite his many years of service to the Chicago Police Department, which sends him into a downward spiral. Two years later, Danny gets an invitation from the beautiful, young and very attractive Detective Angelica Cross to join a secret branch of the FBI to help her track down Vincent, the wayward vamp. But renegade werewolves, meddling immortal witches and Danny’s strange visions of a life lived a century ago with Angelica make things more difficult than it should be.
Your blood does not define you. Harley Torrance’s parents were killed in a home invasion when she was three. Adopted by a nice couple, Harley begins to develop strange powers. At fourteen she brews a potion so strong it gains the attention of the Coven King, and changes her world forever. She’s not human, she’s a witch. Now a part of the magical community, Harley must learn to control her powers lest the Darkness already in her blood overcomes her. Can she dampen her lust for power in order to stop the Dark from taking over the Coven and killing everyone in their way?
Reader Review: “Luchesi kept the whimsy and wonder inherent in magical YA novels while exploring the darker side of the magical world and those who dwell in it. It’s everything I dreamed of in a magical YA novel and more!”— On My Kindle
In this standalone spin-off of the Paranormal Detectives Series, we discover the true horrors during Hitler’s reign. In World War Two, not all monsters were human.
Male siren Sean Wireman was ostracised from his small village in Israel in the sixteenth century, forced to wander the world until he settled in America in the 1920’s. Since he doesn’t age like a normal person, he was fit to fight in World War Two, to defend the heritage he spent his whole life running from.
Seventy years later, after he has lived a whole other life since Hitler was defeated, from attending law school to becoming a bona fide rock star, the monsters the Nazis released upon the Jews in concentration camps have returned, and he is the only one who can destroy them. But can he save his people once again, or will this fight take a deadly toll?
Reader Review: “The truthful elements woven into the fantastical produced an unstoppable read that will surely please current fans and those looking for a historical ride filled with both legitimacy and the dark paranormal. The rich historical elements were expertly dropped in context instead of sounding like a lesson, serving to add a realistic twist to Sean’s life and anchoring the reader to his story.”—Knightingale Reviews
WordyNerdBird’s note: I have just finished reading ‘Never Again’, and it really is an excellent horror read. Make sure you check Book Squirrel’s book blog for the review!
I always feel a little naked when asked to talk about myself. So let me put something on first. Ahhhh, that’s better. So they call me The Queen of Scream. If you’ve read any of my work, you know it is a well-earned moniker.
I live near Annapolis, Maryland in a town called Bowie with my boyfriend, Tim. That places me halfway between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD.
My Supernatural Horror Crime Thriller books in The Devil’s Due Collection take place in these metro areas so anyone who lives here will recognize some of the locations. I also have a Paranormal Romance/Ghost series – An OBX Haunting – that takes place in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
I’ve had many interesting things happen to me along my life’s path. The first President Bush gave me a shoulder/back rub when I was visiting the compound in Maine one hot August. I went to church with Princess Diana and Prince Charles. I’ve been to Las Vegas to play competitive pool in the APA World Championship.
I won’t share all of my adventures. Where would the mystery be if I expose all?
I would consider myself to be a fair and giving person who loves hard. I am nice, but if you do me wrong, I will never forget. I may forgive, just to get past it, but you will never get close to me again. I am loyal to a fault. I’m into shoes and purses, they have their own room here.And now I am naked again.
Suzi writes Supernatural Horror Crime Thrillers. Her novels are psychologically scary. She utilizes everyday characters who find themselves tangled up in horrible situations that seem inescapable. She likes her characters to have intense personal relationships that complicate their situations.
Death Most Wicked
Mikael was six years old when he learned his father was a murderer.His mother, Sofia, knew there was more to it. Her husband wasn’t just a murderer, no, he was fiendish. She tried to shield Mikael from his father’s savage deeds. But when she discovered her husband, Dimitry Ivanovitch, had demonic plans for their son, she made a decision that would prove deadly if she were caught. In the dead of night, she snatched her son from his bed and fled to the safety of America. There, no longer living in fear, Mikael grew up and became a decorated homicide detective. Sofia, however, kept constant watch for signs that her husband had located them.
One hot August day, Mikael is assigned a string of kidnapping/murders of young girls. Soon another body turns up, and then another. With no suspects and no clues, the pressure proves too great for Mikael’s partner who commits suicide. Just when Mikael thinks things cannot get any worse, his father tracks him down. And now Ivanovitch is deeply involved with the Devil. He attempts to lure Mikael into his cult by dangling the name of the murderer in front of him. But the name comes with a steep price tag. Can Mikael escape his father’s clutches again? Or will he choose a fate worse than death to save the next little girl?
If you like sagas such as The Godfather and Goodfellas because of their heart-pounding action, and any of Stephen King’s books for thrilling terror, this book will have you turning pages all night long. Don’t miss out on Death Most Wicked.
The Devil’s Lieutenant
A night at the local bar proves deadly for three friends when they fail to notice the rotting stink of evil coming from the far corner of the room.
Brothers Jake and Bobby Holyfield along with Max Wilson catch the eye of Dimitry Ivanovitch, the Devil’s right-hand man who is seeking victims for his Satanic cult. With one phone call, he discovers that Max is chronically unemployed and desperate for money. And that Bobby has an insatiable fiancé who is cheating on him, however Jake has no weaknesses or secrets. Ivanovitch sets out to take the souls of all three but realizes Jake’s will be harder to steal.
Meanwhile, Jake is promoted to homicide detective. His first case is a perplexing one that appears unsolvable. Around the same time, Jake hears that Max is suddenly flush with unexplained money. Jake fears that Max has taken a dark turn. And then Jake gets unexpected help from an angel and another detective who contacts him with intel that is crucial to not only his case but to the survival of humanity. However, now Jake’s worse fears are confirmed. Will Ivanovitch succeed in stealing Max and Bobby’s souls? Will he turn a good cop bad? Or will Jake rise up and save everyone?
The Devil’s Lieutenant reads like a mish-mash of the best scenes from the Godfather saga and the Exorcist. It is not your mama’s lullaby. Pick it up, and you will be reading far into the night. The Devil’s Lieutenant is Book 2 in the Devil’s Due Collection.
Today, I woke up in another man’s coffin, under some poor soul’s limp body. It is so dark in here, but God help me, I think I know whose body it is.
This can’t be happening. Not now. I mean come on, I may be a short, balding guy with a thick waistline, but I’ve also got pockets full of money. Sure, most of it is family money, my wife’s family but it’s in my pockets. This is the time of my life, for crap’s sake. Can this really be happening? I swear when I was dragged up to the coffin, I saw my dead father-in-law in the corner of the room, his fingers crusted with dirt and dried roses from digging himself out of his grave. And he was clutching that damned contract he made me sign in my own blood.
Maybe fear is causing me to hallucinate but I think that monster, Royce, cut off my thumb before slamming the lid shut. I must be bleeding but I can’t lift my arm to check. Oh my God, the furnace just fired up. It’s rocking my coffin. My head was spinning from the drugs, but I know my formerly loving wife helped shove my body into this cramped chariot to hell. Surely, she’s just punishing me for my indiscretion with the lovely Karina. She’s going to come back and let me out with a reprimand, right? Wait a minute… is that crackling I hear? My toes are burning.
If you enjoy Twilight Zone-like books, you will enjoy Scorn Kills. And if snarky characters, ironic circumstances, and horror are your thing, this book will keep you enthralled, page after page. One reviewer has even asked, “how can a book so funny be so frightening?” This is a “can’t resist reading it” book.