Launching Lilo

The incredible cover of Berlin Calling

It’s cover reveal day for Berlin Calling and the pre-order is live! You can check out the listing here. It’s currently only available on Amazon or in paperback, but I will be opening the ebook up to other retailers after an initial 90-day period in Kindle Unlimited (Amazon requires exclusivity for independent authors to have their books in Kindle Unlimited).

As readers of my blog may have noticed, I’m launching a new pen name for a series of self-published books, in addition to my Leonie Mack titles with my publisher. You may be asking why and this post is here to answer your questions.

The short answer is, my creative energy demanded it. I love my Leonie Mack books and working with my wonderful editor at Boldwood and what they’ve managed to do to get my titles in front of eyes is amazing for a new author and I will definitely keep taking readers to beautiful destinations, hopefully for years to come.

But, as I began to appreciate marketing hooks, trends, comparison titles and all of the stuff that comes with selling books, I felt a bit stifled and under pressure. Every author has to deal with this. Ultimately, the publishing industry is cutthroat, especially for new authors. Amazon has pushed ebook prices so low that it’s difficult for publishers and authors to earn enough to cover inputs. I found this pressure overwhelming as I was writing my first couple of books, trying to think of something that would sell to reduce that pressure, while also searching for my creative spark.

My response to all this was to write a book simply because I wanted to. I gave myself a few weeks to see how far I could get and the story came pouring out. That book was Berlin Calling. I wrote it in 2021 to let off steam and it turned out much better than I’d expected, for a book that I’d written purely for fun, to release the pressure, rather than putting pressure on myself.

I decided to use that manuscript to try to get an agent, to see if that might help kick-start my career (I’m probably just being impatient, as I have had an amazing start anyway and it’s only been 2 years!) I had some interest from the few agents I queried, but I quickly lost the will to query further, because the agents are under as much pressure as we authors are to pick marketable ‘winners’ and it was all just too much for my mental health.

I discussed this book with my editor at Boldwood and although there was a chance they would have accommodated me with this project (and my editor was keen to offer support), the timeframe was vague and it’s a lot to ask one publisher to release so many books by one author in one year, so I decided to take the plunge and publish it myself.

It was an enormous weight off. I realised I can keep writing the things that recharge me, that enliven me, without the pressure of keeping other people happy with sales numbers. I could commission the cover of my dreams. Is it a vanity project? Yes and no. I hope there is a readership out there, people who will enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it, but my costs have been fairly low and I don’t need to sell many copies to make back what I’ve put into it.

It’s a pretty special book that really pushed my writing into new territory and it’s a whole lot of sparkly fun. I’m following where inspiration leads and I need that, as much as I also want to stay in the world of traditional publishing with my Leonie Mack books.

If you’ve read and enjoyed my books before, you will probably enjoy Berlin Calling, too. It has more over-the-top humour, is written in first person point-of-view and it does have a few sex scenes, but it’s otherwise me in slightly different packaging.

I’ve also just finished the first draft of a follow-up book with the working title ‘Beerfest’, full of drunken escapades and the really touching story of two old friends discovering where their relationship could go.

The cover of Berlin Calling, designed by Lucy Murphy at Cover Ever After

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