Author: Angelica Kate

Book Reviews – Types and Why They Matter

If you’ve been working on a book for months, even years, getting it reviewed can be scary! The world of book reviews can seem very daunting. However, there are ways that you can face that world with a little bit more confidence! The best way is to educate yourself about how the world of book reviewing works. This will equip you to tackle this aspect of being an author with conviction, setting you up for success.

Firstly, let’s take a look at the different types of book reviews out there:

1. Reviews from your Readers!

These are the reviews authors are often most nervous and excited to read. However, once your book is out there, reviews from your readers often come in quick and fast, which can be overwhelming. Something to remember is that it can be difficult to separate the genuine reviews from the not-so-genuine ones, so bear this in mind.

2. Trade Reviews

These are the reviews that people within the industry pay the most attention to. Unfortunately, you usually have to pay for these reviews, with no guarantee that they will write favorably about your work. However, this might be a risk worth taking because trade reviews often dictate which books make it onto retail shelves.

3. Endorsement Reviews

These are especially useful if your book is non-fiction, as the clout of a good review from a well-known person in that industry can be very influential in making other people buy your book. An endorsement review essentially entails contacting someone who you would like to write a review of your book so that their words can be incorporated into the cover design, for example, to help sell the book.

4. Editorial Reviews

Similar to endorsement reviews, editorial reviews can be great for encouraging people to read your book. But, again, a positive review is not guaranteed. Something to consider with editorial reviews is the readership of the site or newspaper where the review will be published; you want to ensure the people reading the review are likely to be interested in the genre you write for.

A professional book review has a basic structure: it is usually around 1,500 words long, containing a summary of the plot, the reviewer’s opinions on the book, and their recommendation to the audience (whether they should or should not read the book themselves). There is a lot of room for creativity within this structure, meaning that book reviews can vary a lot depending on the author. Some reviewers have a unique style, making it important to carefully select who you ask to review your work for an endorsement or editorial review.

Finally, it is important to remember that reviews are, in their very nature, subjective. When reading reviews for your own work, it can be easy to ignore many complimentary ones and focus on more critical reviews. The reviewing process can be a very stressful part of the book-writing experience, but try to learn from every criticism and enjoy the good reviews!

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The Five Top Book Review Blogs That You Need to Check Out

There are so many blogs out there now about writing that it can be hard to know where to start; the amount of information out there can be a little overwhelming to say the least! But don’t worry, here I’ve done the hard work for you and picked out a few that you will love. These cover a range of books, from Kindle eBooks to traditionally published works, so there really is something out there for everyone.

1. Guilty Pleasure Book Review

A stalwart of the romance book blog sphere, GPBR is the go-to place for romance novel reviews, whatever your favourite takes on this genre may be, from contemporary mainstream to paranormal and suspense. As well as book reviews, you can also find author interviews here.

2. She Reads Romance Books

Leslie writes this blog, and her writing is so accessible that reading her reviews feels like having a chat with an old friend! She collates book lists to get your teeth stuck into and reviews genre classics as well as the latest releases, so staying up to date with the latest books is easy.

3. Romance Junkies

Whether you’re looking for a new book to read from your favourite sub-genre of romance novels, or you’re looking to branch out of your comfort zone, this is the place to go. Whether you like your romance novels historical or contemporary, paranormal or inspirational, you’ll find something here for you!

4.  Sweet Romance Reads

This blog is run by a group of authors who have joined forces to promote their own books, but do a fantastic job of reviewing and recommending other books you may enjoy too! They are dialled into their readership so can make great recommendations.

5. Angieville

Finally, we have Angieville, written by Angie who describes herself as a “lifelong bibliophile with a soft spot for YA, fantasy, romance, and historical novels”. Working as an editor, Angie is able to provide fantastic insight into the industry and her reviews are second to none. She also posts blog tour reviews, so is a great way to broaden your blog-reading world!

I hope these recommendations make penetrating the seemingly colossal world of book blogs seem a little easier – rest assured there is a blog out there for everybody!

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The Benefits of a Writing Partner and Where to Find One

With an array of possible avenues to go down when writing a novel, it can be hard to know where to start. The world of eBooks has made getting published today very different to publishing just a few years ago, so making sure you have something that makes you stand out from the crowd is crucial. One way to help you to stay on track is to have a writing partner.

A writing partner can take several forms. Often they act as a sounding board for you to bounce ideas off, giving you their opinions on which direction you should take. Often this is a reciprocal relationship, with them using you to help them in the same way. This helps both of you to boost your productivity, get new ideas, and dial into what will resonate with your audience.

There are a few things to bear in mind when choosing a writing partner. You should ensure that your writing partner has experience in the genre you are writing in, because this will help them to give you the best advice and feedback possible. Another thing to look for in a writing partner is writing pace; you want to work with someone who can give you as much as you can give them, so if you need feedback every couple of weeks but they are asking for help every other day that relationship is unlikely to be sustainable.

So where can you find a writing partner? Some people turn to friends or family who are also in the writing business for advice, but you should not feel limited to this group of people. The internet has made the world feel smaller in so many ways, and finding a writing partner online has never been easier. Not only can you find them online, but you can also communicate with them online, making geographical distance a non-issue. For the best chance of success, make sure you are clear about what you want from a writing partner in any advertisements you post, for example how often you would want to speak with them, and how much time you predict you will be able to commit to helping your partner.

Writing partners can bring you so many benefits, and most authors say they would be lost without their partner! They can certainly take your writing to next level, and could be the missing piece that unlocks a new realm of possibilities for you as an author.

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What are Beats in Romance Writing?

The construction of a romance novel can seem confusing to a new writer. But thankfully there is a solid framework that most authors use to ensure their writing is pleasing to the reader. This framework is usually known as the “Seven Beats” of romance writing. Just as a play uses the framework of two, or more often three, acts, the seven beats help the writer to create a flowing narrative and to keep the reader engaged. So, if you’re just starting out as a writer, writing for eBooks or more traditional publications, here is a description of what the beats are and how you can use them to improve your writing.

1. The Setup

In this beat, the author describes the nature of the protagonist’s (or the antagonist’s) missing piece. This usually takes the form of a dream they are yet to fulfil, or a thing they wish was in their life that isn’t currently.

2. The Inciting Incident

This beat is a crucial part of the narrative, as it sets the tone for the rest of the story. The inciting incident is the point at which the two romantic leads meet and begin their story as a pair rather than individuals. The manner in which this happens is often amusing or embarrassing to draw the reader in and help them relate to the characters.

3. The Turning Point

Just as everything seems to be unfolding smoothly, the turning point comes along to make the story more exciting for the reader (much to the characters’ disappointment!). The turning point sets the two leads on diverging, sometimes conflicting, paths. Consequently, the priorities of the characters are laid bare as they are forced to choose between each other and what the truly want.

4. The Midpoint

Here, the stakes are raised, and the leads are irreversibly linked through a series of events and is often accompanied by rising romantic tension between the leads.

5. The Swivel (second turning point)

Sometimes known as the second turning point, the swivel pits the couple’s future against the protagonist’s (or antagonist’s) biggest dream. The character has a big decision to make, and it is unclear which direction they will choose, elevating the suspense and drama.

6. The Crisis

The drama comes to a head in this beat, which is also sometimes referred to as the dark moment. Within this beat, any secrets that have been kept from the other lead come to the surface, threatening to jeopardise their whole relationship, and all hopes of personal accomplishment for the protagonist seem to have vanished.

7. Joyful Defeat/Resolution

In this final beat, the protagonist usually prioritises their relationship over any other desires, and the couple reaffirm their relationship, sometimes through a marriage or other bonding event.

As with any writing framework, these beats are offered as a guide, and by no means dictate exactly how you should formulate your writing. However, this structure has been used very successfully for many years, and is a structure that readers are used to and therefore often respond favourably to. Now that this secret has been revealed to you, I hope you will feel more confident about constructing you romantic writing!

What Makes a Book Blurb Great?

Arguably, the blurb of your book contains the most important words you write. These words need to draw in a potential reader, persuading them to buy your book and start reading it. There are some key details you should get right to make sure your blurb achieves its purpose. Here are 5 things you should consider when writing your blurb to make it great!

1. Use a hook

The first sentence of your blurb is vital to spark interest in your potential reader. Find a way to draw them in that uses the content of your book to position it as an essential read.

2. Know your audience

This is so important. You want to pitch the blurb at your intended audience. Use language they will resonate with and respond to. Work out what your readers want from a book – what is it that gives them joy from a book? Once you know this you can pitch your book in your blurb to demonstrate how it will fulfil what they want from a book.

3. Make your blurb fit the rest of the book

It is important to match the tone of your book in your blurb. The blurb essentially gives potential readers an enticing glimpse into what your book is going to be about. Therefore, ensuring the blurb is an accurate portrayal of the book is crucial. If your book is light-hearted, make sure this comes across in the blurb. Likewise, if your book is dark and mysterious, a joke as the first line is probably not the best choice!

4. Introduce your main characters, their challenges, and what is at stake

Readers are looking for characters they can connect with. This means that your characters, and their struggles, will usually sell a reader on your book. Do your characters justice by succinctly summarising the situation they are in. Use the suspense around whether they are going to end the book having succeeded or failed to encourage readers to join them for the journey!

5. Leave them wanting more!

The best way to get a potential reader to buy your book is to intrigue them so they can’t bring themselves to leave it on the shelf! Draw them in to the world you’ve created and make the reader curious about what could be in store. Leave some room for them to imagine where the story might lead, so don’t give too much away!

Most of all, you need to make sure your blurb does your book justice! To do this, spend the time making it as great as you can, it will be worthwhile!

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How to Find Inspiration for Your Writing – 10 Quick Tips

Every writer faces the dreaded “writer’s block” occasionally. But when it hits, how do you move past it? Here are ten quick tips to help inspire your next few sentences, pages, chapter, or even your next book!

1. Think about something completely different

Initially this may sound counter-productive! However, it will help your brain to subconsciously work on whatever problem you are trying to overcome. It may also bring a whole new perspective to your writing.

2. Go people watching

It is often said that life imitates art. But a lot of time, it is the other way around! While opportunities to go people watching have been limited over the past year or so, it can be a great tool for furthering your writing process. Notice how people dress, move, and interact with each other, and see if you can weave some of these aspects into your writing. There are plenty of interesting people out there to help you develop your characters!

3. Read a book you love

Think about what it is that makes you love that book. Is it the way the characters are painted, or the descriptions that make you feel like you can see exactly what the author means? Emulate this to bring life to your work and create writing that you enjoy reading. If you enjoy it, so will your readers!

4. Cut yourself some slack!

Not every word you write has to be perfect first time around. The most important thing is getting started – just get some words down on the page to start your creative juices flowing.

5. Make time to rest your brain

Just like our bodies, our brains get tired after a while and need chance to recharge. If you’ve been working away at the same chapter for weeks, maybe you just need a break! No one is at their best when they are tired, so make sure you give yourself some time off.

6. Listen to some new music

Music can be highly emotive. Listen to something new and really listen to the words, the melodies, and the rhythm. Take note of how it makes you feel, and where you are taken to in your imagination when you listen to that music. Are you on a mountain top, a beach, or in a bustling city?

7. Draw inspiration from dreams

Our dreams can be a goldmine for inspiration! Subconsciously, our dreams piece together parts of our lives in strange ways. This can result in some out-of-this-world scenarios that would make for a great book!

8. Talk to another writer

This could be a friend or family member, or someone you’ve never met before who you meet online. Bouncing ideas off each other is a great way to spark inspiration and find new ways to look at problems.

9. Go for a walk

The most important part of this tip is being present. What can you see, hear, and smell? How does the exercise or the setting make you feel? Could you channel that into your writing through a particular character. If they were in your shoes, how would they feel, and what would they be thinking about? The outdoors can work wonders for our headspace. Use this to your advantage and draw on nature to help unlock new ideas.

10. Recall conversations you’ve had

It is easy for conversation to spark an idea, but so often these are quickly forgotten! Think back to conversations you have had with friends and family to search for ideas that you may have forgotten about.

Inspiration is all around us – hopefully these tips will help you find some of your own!

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Romance Blogs

The Five Top Author Blogs in Romance That You Need to Check Out

If you’re a budding romance author looking for inspiration, there are lots of fantastic blogs out there to help you get past any writer’s block or shake in confidence. As there are so many to choose from, here are some great ones to get you started!

1. Writers Helping Writers

Written by Angela Ackerman this blog gives superb advice for writers on how to construct believable storylines, characters your readers can empathise with, and relationships that all your readers will be rooting for. There really is no substitute for first-hand experience, so make this blog your go to in times of crisis through the writing process!

2. The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn has created the perfect place to go for advice on creating your hero characters, but she also gives advice on book marketing and lots of other pertinent topics for budding authors.

3. Romance Divas

This is the place to go for excellent insights into the writing process from other established authors. If you have a conundrum that you need another author’s help solving, go to the forum and ask the community of authors for their help and expertise. This is such a great resource as it brings together aspiring writers with more established authors to help you to realise your potential as an author.

4. The Romance Studio

This site is designed for all romantic fiction authors and can be a great resource for writers looking for advertising services or the latest industry news. A true all-in-one resource, this should be on your list of places to go for the most up-to-date advice and practical resources for becoming a romance writer.

5. Harlequin

Finally, we have Harlequin – go behind the scenes with your favorite romance authors, see the latest updates and releases from the authors you love, and learn about their personal stories and how they have overcome the same challenges every author faces.

I hope this gives you a good place to start when looking for help as an author in the romance world. All of these resources are designed specifically for romance authors, making their advice tailored to you.

Photos courtesy of Unsplash

Romance Podcast

Five Podcasts Every Romance Author Should Check Out

Sometimes it is hard to see the wood for the trees when it comes to podcasts – everyone seems to be doing them nowadays! So, if you’re a romance author, or a fan of the genre, and you’re looking for a podcast made just for you, here are five podcasts I think you should listen in to.

1. Tea & Strumpets: A Regency Romance

Regency has rocketed in popularity in the last few months thanks to a certain little series called Bridgerton! Fans all over the world have been captivated by the costumes, lifestyle and romantic trials and tribulations of the regency characters, originally created by Julia Quinn. Therefore, it is not surprising that there is great demand for a podcast that digs deeper into the regency romance category, and in this podcast friends Zoë and Kelsey discuss fan favourites as well as rising stars to keep you bang up to date on this historical genre.

2. Shelf Love: Romance Novels

The tagline for this podcast is “We have fun taking romance novels seriously” and that perfectly sums up this podcast! Andrea Martucci leads thought-provoking discussions about the romance genre, including drilling down into what make romance authors and readers tick, and how this deeper understanding of the mindset can elevate your writing. Definitely an interesting one for aspiring romance authors to check out!

3. When in Romance

This biweekly podcast is perfect for helping you to keep abreast of the latest news and offerings in the romance genre world. This podcast is great for finding new recommendations or hearing about the latest reviews and bestsellers.

4. Journeys of Romance

For many authors, starting out in this genre can be difficult, so this podcast brings together a mix of more well-established and new authors to discuss their journey into the world of romance writing, and their experiences of getting published. This is a podcast that is perfect for aspiring romance writers.

5. Not Your Mom’s Romance Book Club

This podcast is the perfect remedy if you find yourself weary from serious debates and discussions – Ellen and her Mom set up this podcast after realising that almost every daughter is mortified when their Mom peeks over their shoulder to see what they’re reading! The awkwardness soon makes way for closer mother-daughter bonds and guaranteed hilarity for the listeners. They also love to hear from their listeners, so this is a truly interactive podcast.

There really is something out there for everyone when it comes to podcasts, and I hope this list serves as a good place to start for finding your next favourite podcast!

Photos courtesy of Unsplash


The World’s Top Five Libraries – In One Reader’s Opinion

Libraries provide a haven for many people. They can be a place to escape reality and dive into new and distant worlds. But some libraries are just so amazing that it makes it hard to want to leave! Here are a few favorites to inspire your next library trip!

1. The Reading Room, The British Museum, London, England

This library is truly one-of-a-kind, with its dome constructed from a form of papier-mâché and its long list of famous visitors, including Oscar Wilde, George Orwell, and Mahatma Gandhi! This definitely isn’t a place you go to bury your head in a book – take the time to absorb your surroundings and feel the history in everything around you.

2. Vatican Library, Vatican City, Rome, Italy

As one of the oldest libraries in the world, this library has some unique offerings, from its intricately decorated interiors to the oldest complete manuscript of the Bible and other medieval manuscripts. Not many libraries are as beautiful to look at, and it certainly makes you not want to leave!

3. Seattle Central Library, Seattle, Washington, USA

This library is an architectural masterpiece in itself, with the glass and steel design drawing in admirers from around the world. Within this structure are over 1.45 million books arranged in an open and airy space designed to dispel the usual image of a library as dark and dinghy. This creative space is sure to inspire some reading or writing juices with a visit here.

4. The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, New York, USA

Picture a library in your mind, and you won’t be far off what this amazing library looks like. This is the private collection of the banking giant J.P. Morgan, and it holds some incredible pieces, including Charles Dicken’s manuscript of A Christmas Carol and many drawings by famous artists including Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Picasso. The wooden shelving and delicately painted ceiling give this library the traditional feel without the imposing nature that can put some people off.

5. The Library of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt

The original library of Alexandria was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. However, it was sadly destroyed by a fire almost two millennia ago. The replacement is no less impressive, costing $220 million to rebuild in 2002. As a wonder of the modern world in its own right, this library also serves as a cultural hub, containing manuscript restoration labs, art galleries and exhibition spaces, and even a planetarium! The restocking of this library is ongoing, and it has space to hold over eight million books.

This is a mere handful of the world’s most amazing libraries, so as you can see, there are plenty to be discovered. What’s clear is that these incredible structures are keen to embrace their history and stay relevant for the modern world, which is crucial for keeping visitors engaged.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash


Five tips for authors to stay organized and on a writing schedule

Authors have many ideas, but they need to stick to a writing schedule to convert specific ideas into words. It can be challenging to find enough spare time and the patience to convert a writing process into a routine, particularly for emerging writers who work full-time. It is, however, possible to create a writing routine that works for you and keeps you on track to finishing your first article and, finally, your first book.

So here are a few tips that would help you to stay organized.

Set up your routine

Set up your sleeping routine. Getting good sleep is crucial for a writer. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body will become exhausted, and your mind will soon follow. And, physical fatigue has a direct effect on brain function. You may be able to go a week, maybe ten days, with sleeping four hours a night. But after that, the exhaustion from your day job and your cerebral operation will take its toll, and your health will suffer, so will your work.

Determine your most productive time

Some authors are most productive first thing in the morning, while others are night owls who sit up late and scribble in the early hours of the morning. Knowing the right time of day to plan your writing sessions is very helpful when creating a writing routine. You can make this decision based solely on personal preference, or you can be a bit more scientific about it.

Alternatively, you can try some days of writing in the morning, some days of writing at night, and so on. Keep track of your performance and inspiration levels, and then figure out which method is better for you. When you figure out what time of day you’re most innovative and productive, you can plan your writing schedule around it.

Organize your writing tasks

Make sure all of your files are sorted and assembled before you sit down to write. The quicker you find your files, the more likely you will start writing at your scheduled time. Keep your articles organized in Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. The working title should be written on each file with the pertinent version or other information for ease of accessing. Having a task list that you can cross items off also helps fuel a sense of organization and accomplishment as even small tasks get done. 

Create a writing space

Finding a quiet spot away from the rest of the family is a perfect place to stay focused. When you’re in your writing area or workspace, you minimize interruptions by creating a zone where you can work far from the noise of home life. Your office or workspace should have all of the necessary equipment, as well as some visual aids to help set the mood. Put your phone on silent or put it away to avoid unnecessary distractions.

Stick to your routine

There’s only one thing left to do after you’ve created a routine that is – sticking to it. This does not mean you cannot modify your routine according to your goals, personal situations, or writing patterns. The procedures of the routine can be changed, but your dedication to the routine cannot. It would be best if you took your writing seriously. It is the best way to achieve your writing goals.

Writers are creative souls by nature that are driven by their craft. Unfortunately, the finer aspects of setting up and maintaining a routine to accomplish this creativity maybe be what hinders them from finishing projects. A few tweaks and a firm writing routine allow that creativity to flow from beginning to published end. Happy writing!

Photos courtesy of Pexels


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