Happy new website. Happy new me.

Time and tide wait for no one – and neither does technology, to paraphrase the old proverb and to make it gender-neutral. Times are changing, and so is my website, because having an author website built and thinking it will stand the test of time, is a fool’s game. Okay. That’s enough with the clichés. What I’m really saying is that I needed to have a new website built and I’m going to tell you why.

To be honest, I still love my ‘old’ website. Blue is one of my favourite colours and the bookmark tabs are fab. There were so many things I loved about it.

But it wasn’t completely ‘mobile-friendly’ and as more and more people are searching the internet via their phones or tablets, websites need to look good, not only on a large screen but also on a device with a screen size of as little as a couple of inches. Plus, if a website displays poorly on mobile devices, some browsers/search engines will push it lower in the list of search results. The new website displays perfectly.

I’ve also purchased an SSL certificate. What’s an SSL certificate and why did I want one? It’s a small data file and – without getting technical – it activates the padlock symbol and the https protocol, which allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. Several browsers are starting to issue ‘warnings’ such as: ‘this website may not be secure’. Does any author want that appearing on their website when someone inputs an email address into the newsletter sign-up box, or comments on a blog? I certainly don’t.


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How to choose a book title

The title of a book is important. Perhaps not quite as important as the cover and definitely far less important than the actual book content, but a title can help a potential purchaser to decide whether she or he wants to buy the book in the first place. It can give an indication of the type of book the book-buyer is going to get - or it may not. More than once, I've been told about a book and when I've searched for it on line, I've discovered that it wasn't what I'd expected. The cover can sometimes give a clearer indication. You'll see from the cover for my 'summer' book, It Takes Two that it shows it's a romantic comedy about relationships. At least I hope it does.

We're often told that a decision on whether or not to purchase a book, is frequently made based entirely on the cover. I don't know if that's true or not. For me, it's a little bit of both, but it's mainly about the content. I always read a page or two and if I like what I've read, I'll read on and then I'll buy. But a clever title, or a catchy one, or a cosy-sounding one will sometimes make me go and look for the book to find out more. So how do authors, agents, writing groups, editors, marketing people and/or publishers, come up with these titles?

Judging by the number of titles featuring the word 'Girl' over the last few years, it seems to be based purely on what else is selling shed-loads in the marketplace. It's not quite that simple, of course, but market influences have led to title changes for several authors. When an author is writing their book, they will usually have a 'working title' for their manuscript. It could be as simple as 'new book' or it could be a title they have spent hours mulling over until they felt they had found the perfect one to bring their book into the world. The working title is, in my experience and from chatting with author friends, unlikely to ever see the light of day come publication. The final title may not even be one they like. Some authors have little say on the matter. Several titles, you'll probably have noticed, are actually song titles. Lyrics are copyrighted but song titles aren't. You'll sometimes see the same title on many different books. Some people moan vociferously about this, but it really can't be helped. They probably weren't the first to use the title and they definitely won't be the last. Book titles aren't copyrighted either and there are so many books out there that it would be impossible for someone to check for identical titles every minute of the day. Even if someone did, many months can pass between choosing the title and actual publication, so that fabulous title that hadn't appeared in any search, may suddenly pop up like rabbits.

I've just finished my new, Christmas book and the working title was 'Secret Santa' - for reasons that may or may not become apparent when you read the book. I knew it wasn't going to be the final title and after lots of discussion, it was changed to 'Christmas Secrets', but we weren't quite sure about it so we decided the best thing to do was to ask my loyal readers what they thought. I've got a wonderful group of lovely readers on Facebook. It's a new group and was set up in addition to my Readers' Club newsletter. It's called, 'Emily Harvale's Readers' Club', and if you love my books, you can ask to join. Sorry. Went off on a bit of a tangent there.

Anyway, we ran a poll in the group and gave six choices. We also told them a little bit about the book and said they should feel free to let us have their own suggestions if they didn't like any of the variations of the titles on offer. It was a fun - and interesting - exercise, and it was extremely helpful. Afterwards, we gave a 'prize' to one lucky winner as a little 'thank you' for taking part. I wish we could have given them all a gift, but there'll be other opportunities to do that in the future and because they're all so lovely, they had been keen to join in, in any event. I'd like to say another huge THANK YOU to them right now.

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Cover reveal and competition

Drumroll please ... Ta dah!

Here it is. The gorgeous cover of my new book, Christmas Secrets in Snowflake Cove. I hope you love it as much as I do. Today is the BIG cover reveal and I'm hoping you may want to get involved and share the cover and link to pre-order the book. Read on to find out how - and get a chance to win a prize in my Christmas Secrets Cover Reveal Comp.

Each time I look at this cover I feel so festive. I want to drag the tree down from the loft and start decorating it immediately, with Michael Bublé's dulcet tones telling me it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, accompanied by tinkling ice cubes in my obligatory glass (or two) of Baileys. It's getting more difficult to control the urge with every passing day. I have to admit, in celebration of the cover reveal, I have changed the ringtone on my doorbell to Dashing Through the Snow. I can't wait to see the postman/woman's face. Hohoho!

But enough of that. Let's start spreading the news. All you have to do is share this blog post by using the social media links, or copy and paste the link of this page and share it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or wherever, preferably with the hashtag #ChristmasSecrets. Then comment below, or on the pinned post on my Facebook Author page, to tell me that you've done so and, once we've verified it, your name will go into a draw for a chance to win one of the Christmas-themed goodies.

Here's an idea of what's up for grabs. Signed paperbacks, brooch, a pack of Christmas jokes, handmade Christmas cards and decorations from Kittoo Crafts, and Face Straws, (I love those straws. They're perfect to lighten the mood at a posh cocktail party! Or maybe not.) All that's missing is a cuddly toy - and I may be able to rustle up one of those before the end of the day. You can share and comment until midnight today (Tuesday 17th October.) The winners will be picked at random and the names will be posted in the comments box below and on my Facebook Author page before midnight on Friday 20th October.

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Cocktail, anyone?

My fourth novel, 'Sailing Solo' was released at the end of July. It's a humorous romance set in Greece, where Willa Daventry runs sailing holidays for single people from her base at the beautiful, Argolis Bay Hotel.

Willa and her best friend, Blossom, like a drink and Blossom's favourite cocktail is a Screaming Orgasm. Well, who doesn't like those? Laughing

Any hoo... that got me thinking. (I have been known to do that.) Why don't I have a cocktail invented for Willa? So I set off to do some research.

Luckily for me I met the delightful, Tom at my local cocktail bar, 'Walkers', in Hastings town centre, and he agreed to help me.

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Recent Comments
Guest — Emily
Wow! That's a lovely present, Tanya. Hope you enjoy the book. xxx
Sunday, 16 December 2018 18:12
Guest — Tanya Phillips
I somehow missed this book. I will have to get it as a sailing widow by hubby and both girls. In fact they have a boat for Christm... Read More
Sunday, 16 December 2018 18:09

Sailing Solo excerpt

Here is an excerpt from my fourth novel, 'Sailing Solo'. It's a humorous romance and it will be available on Amazon as an eBook from the 24th of July and in paperback a few days later. To read the excerpt, click on the 'continue reading' button. You'll see the back cover summary first so that you know what 'Sailing Solo' is about. Just scroll down to read the excerpt. I hope you enjoy it.

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