Thursday, May 9, 2019

Guest Post - Nia Lucas Author of 'Love Punked'

Today I am hosting a guest post from Nia Lucas, author of Love Punked.

Read on for information about Love Punked and Nia.



Ten Things I Wish I’d Known a Year Ago

So it’s been nearly a year since my novel ‘Love Punked’ was unleashed on an unsuspecting reading community and Christ on a Bike, it’s been QUITE the year. As a Social Worker of twenty years, I was cocky in my belief that I had it all sussed and that I could navigate the world of publishing unruffled. I figured that years of Court appearances, disgruntled teenagers and innumerable crisis’ would see me well prepped for ‘ a bit of book marketing’. That splashing sound you can hear in the background are my tears of hysterical, hindsight-induced laughter…...

I’ve been writing for a few years and ‘Love Punked’ was the fourth of my completed books. I’d been trying to snag an Agent for about a year, touting the first book I’d written and despite a few ‘full manuscript’ requests, I was getting nowhere fast. After a few tries with ‘Love Punked’, I decided to give Self-Publishing a go, using ‘Love Punked’ as a way of ‘testing the water’ and ‘learning the trade’.

Nearly a year on and I feel wiser (I actually typed that as ‘wider’ first…….would still be accurate to be fair), more industry-savvy and I am using words on a daily basis that I had genuinely not encountered twelve months ago.

‘Love Punked’ has always held a 5* rating on which I’m hugely proud of, I’ve been lucky enough to see an astonishing number of copies sold/pages read and reviewers have been unfailingly kind. I’ve had it pretty sweet and for that I’m so grateful.

This bit of written nonsense (massive thanks to Jess for inviting me to write this post!) is my attempt at ‘Paying it Forward’, passing on the tips and knowledge gained from a year of social media buffoonery and PR Horror Shows. If you are a writer even CONSIDERING self-publishing (I used KDP on Amazon), read this and learn from me or laugh at me. Me? I’m grateful either way!

1) Learn the Twatterverse and Instagobble, you’ll need it.

I’d never been on Twitter before I released ‘Love Punked’. The only Grams I’d encountered were on my teenagers Court charge sheets at work. I had never ‘WordSwagged’, or ‘storied’. I could Facebook (ineptly) but that was it. I had the Social Media skills of an 80-year-old after a 1-day course at the local Library. Clueless. Being an Xennial (look it it up, it’s a ridiculous thing), I grew up without the internet but I am experiencing an adulthood immersed in it. Truth is, it makes me crap in both camps: Can’t put the bloody phone down but accidentally inappropriately comment on stranger’s photos. Liability. So this is tip one: Create your Twitter and Instagram presence. Build it before you release your book. Learn the rules, get familiar with the protocols and culture. Start the book hype early otherwise you run the risk of accidentally Tweeting a prominent, popular, trailblazing American politician a Gif of a dancing penis*………….*might have done that.

2) Brutal, unflinching honesty.

This is a controversial one for many writers and not everyone will agree. You see once I’ve written, proofread, edited A THOUSAND TIMES, wept, thrown the laptop at the wall, howled at the moon and cursed my ancestors, I always recruit a small army of volunteer readers amongst friends and extended networks. (Free tip: try and coincide this with Summer Holidays- people read more and are far more agreeable when they’ve got a week of drinking in the sun ahead of them). You don’t want praise- you want brutality. I always ask them ‘What didn’t work for you?’ as the first feedback question when they’re read the manuscript.

I genuinely do admire writers who plunge in with no test-readers but in an overwhelmingly crowded self-published marketplace, quality is key. People can smell a poorly edited, over-written disjointed plot a mile off. Facebook writing groups are filled with Author’s bemoaning their lack of Literary Agent interest in posts whose grammar, structure and vocabulary makes everyone’s cringe gland throb.

Self-Published Authors, we don’t have the luxury of Agents, in-house Editors or Proofreaders. If you’re a Self-Published Author, you are an entire Publishing house on two legs. Do your due diligence and polish that manuscript until it gleams. Don’t let it overwhelm you though- the Judging Panel of the 2018 Man Booker Prize criticised the massively famous Authors it was judging for being too overwritten at times. See, even the Biggest of the Big have got room for improvement! There are of course Editing and Proofreading services that you can buy. I have no experience of these but a quick Google should see you sorted!

3) You are indeed the Lowest of the Lowly.

Picture the world of Publishing and Book Marketing as the Sahara desert. Miles and miles of dunes, an infinite number of grains of sand contained within it. Occasionally, you spot a palm tree. It’s bright and it grabs everyone’s attention with its freshness and excitement (damn you Taylor Jenkins Reid, Samantha Shannon and V.E Schwab). Rarely a stately camel sweeps past, huge and majestic parting the sand (*bows* JK Rowling, Stephen King). You however remain a grain of sand. Absolutely unnoticeable. Acceptance is the final stage of Grief but it is the first stage of Self-Publishing. Accept that as a Self-Published author, you will need to start small. The world of books is so, unbelievably LOUD with a billion voices clamoring for attention, endless books being touted. Frankly, it’s a miracle if you’re noticed on a wide scale. So be savvy. Know your appeal and target it. Start Local. Offer free copies to local Book Clubs, offer to come and speak to them. Give your mates free copies in the hope that they enjoy it and spread the word. Build slowly. Get those reviews mounting. Posters in your local town, flyers in places like nail salons, dentists and hairdressers where people have to kill time. “Be a big fish in a small pond”. It builds from there.

4) Book Bloggers are your Best Friends.

I had never heard the words ‘Book Blogger’ or ‘Bookstagram’ before last year. Never. I was a reader but I had no idea that an army, nay universe of people who feel so passionately about books that they dedicate time, effort and sanity to the process of reading and reviewing FOR FREE often in their spare time. They are the unsung heroes of the Self-Publishing world. Find these wonderful people on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Offer them (politely and with no obligation) your book for free. Engage with and respect them. They are your support squad, with an audience reach that you alone could not manage. They ‘expand your pond’. Book yourself on one of the inexpensive and highly useful ‘Book Blog Tours’, run by a number of companies/bloggers (I’ll shamelessly plug Rachel @rararesources!). Get those reviews amassed and then quote and retweet them. You won’t regret it.

5) Don’t put the deposit down on that Super Yacht.

Brace yourself: You won’t make much money. You just won’t. People self-publish for all sorts of reasons. Mine is a mixture of curiosity, a difficult-to-genre-define writing style and an awareness that even if I ever got an agent, I love my Day Job too much to ever be a full-time writer. If you’re self-publishing to make money, well, you’d be better off down the Greyhound track, betting on the one with a limp and a dodgy eye. I make enough money from ‘Love Punked’ to buy the Saturday takeaway, the bloody rabbit’s food and the milk each week.

If you want to make real money from your Self-Published book, you need to have some uber skills when it comes to marketing and you need more time than holding down a full-time day job will realistically allow. You will also have to spend out cash for an amazing cover and all sorts of other magic beans in your arsenal. If you’re prepared for that, then more power to you. If however you just want to have people read your book, enjoy your book and give you feedback occasionally as you build your ‘Writer Resume’, then you won’t be rocking up in Monaco Harbour on the good ship ‘Royalties’ any time soon. Sorry. HOWEVER, there is always THAT person who published something independently online or self-published and got it picked up by chance…..E.L James and Cassandra Clare, imma lookin’ at you….These stories, fables indeed, are what keeps us going on the days when it all seems a bit pointless.

6) Keep. Writing.

Pushing and promoting your current release can be all consuming but don’t forget, you need to keep producing material. You might have self-published Book #1 but maybe, just maybe you might still be on the hunt for an agent and THEY will need to see fresh material. Don’t focus entirely on the publicity and marketing for Book #1. It will require a lot of your time and energy but make sure you still leave some space for the writing of Book #2. The reason for this is…..

7) Once you take the step, there’s no going back.

As soon as you press ‘Publish’ on your Self-Publishing platform of choice, that shuts about 99.9% of Agent and Traditional Publisher’s doors, with regards to THAT particular book. The vast majority of Agents and Publishers, understandably, do not want ‘pre-loved’ books. They want the freshest meat, the ‘new kid on the block’. I can understand that now but I DID NOT know that 12 months ago. I (naively) thought that once I’d got positive reviews, Agents would see this a bit like a ‘Tripadvisor’ review and immediately book into my ‘Literary Hotel’. Nope. If you self-publish your much-loved novel, be aware that whilst it forms an essential part of your Writer’s Resume, it ceases to act as Agent Bait. It could however be a re-release once you sign that £Million Book Deal with Books #2/3/4/5…..see, optimism is key!!

8) Don’t annoy your friends and family with your sodding book.

Just because you wrote it, doesn’t mean they will all want to read it. Don’t be THAT mate. We all have friends who are Beauty Product Reps/Lifestyle and nutrition gurus/self-help experts/religious enthusiasts. We love them but there are some who push their agenda or product to the point at which your love is tested to its limits. Your book is no different. Consider keeping your Book/Author stuff entirely separate from your real life (not essential, just something to consider). Try and play it as cool as you can. We all slip up occasionally (Christ, I know I have) but try and walk the right side of obsession. Your book is fantastic but your mates do not have to feel the same way about it. Chill. If you don’t spend your time waxing lyrical about their latest projects as an ‘insurance Specialist’ or the recent assembly that they wrote and directed as a Primary School class teacher, then why on earth should they feel passionate about your work stuff?!

9) Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Never, ever underestimate the power of your front cover. We are visual creatures and no matter how amazing your book is, if the front cover is generic internet images (seriously, how many Bodice-Ripping Pirate pictures can one industry generate?!), you’ve got no hope of competing with the Big Guns. Spend time and effort on your Cover Art. Be creative! I’m lucky enough to have an amazing mate who’s an illustrator but there are Art Colleges, tattoo parlours, Design classes and local art societies near you who could be an untapped mine of Front Cover sources. You won’t regret it!

10) OMFG you’re an author!!

(*whispers*) When they tell you that nothing compares to the feeling of holding your newborn baby for the first time, they are having you on (*scuttles behind sofa and ducks parenting scorn*). Holding each of my babies for the first time was, without exception, the most terrifying and overwhelmingly massive experience of my life. That much is true. However, holding the first printed proof copy of my novel was a MILLION times more giddy-inducing. For starters, with the book I had not just popped a Christmas Turkey out of my lady chute. I was also clean, dressed and nobody was seeing my bits so, y’know, bonus. Holding that book was pure, pure joy whereas holding my babies was utterly terrifying, overwhelming and filled with dangerous levels of love. The book was the culmination of years of work. The baby was the start of years of (loving) servitude. You see where I’m going with this I hope……

I can’t describe how much I love seeing new reviews pop up on Amazon or Goodreads, how much those few lines of feedback mean to me. I love seeing people enjoy my book, falling in love with characters who are precious to me. I love going to Book Clubs to talk about ‘Love Punked’ and I am at times giddy at the prospect of my next book being unleashed into the world.

Stephen King terrifies the bejesus out of me but he got it so right when he said that books are, “A uniquely portable magic”. Although people always seem to apply that quote to the readers, the truth is that I think it applies more to the authors. As authors we can create worlds, inhabit them and then take people along with us, whether we do it as a traditionally published or self-published writer.

It’s all pretty magic, however you go about it.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this twaddle- I hope it’s made you smile at least!

If you’re interested in reading more of my nonsense, ‘Love Punked’ is available from Amazon in Kindle and Paperback formats AND it’s COMPLETELY FREE on Kindle Unlimited!


When her life is irrevocably altered by a post-Rave tryst on her mother's floral patio recliner, Erin Roberts’ long-standing relationship with Humiliation takes her down a path that's not so much 'less well trodden', more 'perilous descent down sheer cliffs'. Armed with a fierce devotion to her best friend and the unrequited love for the boy she might have accidentally married at age seven, when Erin falls pregnant at sixteen, life veers off at a most unexpected tangent. Her journey to adulthood is far from ordinary as Erin learns that protecting the hearts of those most precious to you isn't balm enough when your Love Punked heart is as sore as your freshly tattooed arse. Whilst raising football prodigies and trying not to get stuck in lifts with Social Work clients who hate her, Erin discovers that sometimes you have to circumnavigate the globe to find the very thing that was there all along.

Some of the 5* Amazon reviews for 'Love Punked' by Nia Lucas

“ real and so very funny. I kept erupting into giggles”

“...amazingly funny and exceptionally witty”

“...beautiful, hilarious and moving love story with characters that came alive to love, hate and understand”

“...loaded with emotion and so fabulously funny”

“...a sheer joy to read. Loved it from the start”

“...hooked from page one and found myself wanting to read it at every opportunity”

About the Author


 Nia is a British Author of Contemporary Fiction who's passionate about telling the stories of strong, sympathetic, entertaining and engaging female characters and the lives that they lead. Her Welsh heritage and her life as a practising Social Worker with teenagers and their families heavily influences her work as does her love of all things 90's and a misspent youth immersed in the clubbing culture of the mid-to-late 90's.

Her books like to span multiple genres - Contemporary Fiction, New Adult, 'ChickLit', Contemporary Romance, Urban Fiction and even Suspense. She likes to keep her options open and her readers hooked! Her first novel, 'Love Punked' is now available on Amazon, rated 5* and her second Novel 'Choices Shape, Losses Break' is scheduled for release in late 2019.

Author links:

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