I’ve been re-releasing my backlisted titles over the last year with my personal imprint Here There Be. I’m happy to announce that in advance of the re-release of my 2015 erotica novel LIPS LIKE ICE, I will be serializing it on Radish and Wattpad for free.
There will be three short episodes dropping each week, and the complete ebook and paperback will be released in Fall 2021. After that, the free version of the book will be pared back to just an excerpt, so read as it’s released if you want to get the whole story!
It lives! Many people have been asking when there’ll be a paperback edition of “The Woman Who Fell Through Time”, and I’m happy to say that with the help of the incomparably generous Rodney V. Smith (cover) and the time and talent of Brienne E. Wright (interiors), the novel is now available to buy in book-shape!
Happy reading, and if you enjoyed it, please, please, please leave a review on GoodReads, Amazon, and on your personal social media. Thanks!
Armed with a newly minted university degree and a plane ticket to Paris, Jessie’s plan was to celebrate graduation in the City of Love, kissing as many drunk French girls (or boys, she’s not picky) as she can. Only, she never makes it. When her plane goes down mid-Atlantic she’s pulled from what should have been a watery grave by an intriguing British Naval Captain—in 1805!
Stuck in Regency-era England, Jessie is left with no choice but to enter into the services of the Captain’s sister as a lady’s companion. But she didn’t reckon on the sister being Margaret Goodenough, the world-famous authoress whose yet-to-be-completed novel was the first lesbian kiss in the history of British Literature.
And Jessie’s not just entranced by Margaret’s powerful words…
As their attraction grows, Jessie must tread the tenuous line between finding her own happiness in a world where she is alone, and accidentally changing the future of the queer rights movement. Is Jessie’s duty to preserve Margaret’s history-making book? Or to the happiness of its author, the woman she’s learning to love?
eBook is currently only available through Radish. Paperback available through Here There Be Publishing.
Huzzah! My short story collection, HERO IS A FOUR LETTER WORD, is now available exclusively through Wattpad. The collection has been expanded to include more short stories. I’ll be uploading either one whole short-short story, or part of a longer one, each Friday.
And keep your eye on my social media, because I’ll be releasing an updated paperback version in the coming year.
About the collection:
Good and Evil. Two sides of the same coin? Or something less defined, something more liminal? Entertaining and always thought-provoking, author J.M. Frey offers a collection of remarkable short stories that explore the grey area of the hero/villain dichotomy in this debut short story collection.
Things have been pretty bonkers for me for the last five days! I’ve barely slept, but for VERY GOOD REASONS!
Starting on June 5th 2020, I’m publishing A WOMAN OF THE SEA exclusively on Radish Fiction as “The Woman Who Fell Through Time”.
You can either read the novel an episode at a time (one episode unlocks at a time) or you can use coins to pay to unlock the whole thing at once. Read it here, and get two free coupons to unlock episodes early: https://bit.ly/fellthroughtime
This all happened very, very quickly, and I appreciate that this is coming as a surprise right in the middle of #PrideatWattpad for those of you who may be reading it on Wattpad right now. However, I am extremely excited to introduce an edited and revised version of the story to a whole new group of romance fans.
The first five chapters will remain available on Wattpad, but to continue reading the story past that point, you will have to download the Radish Fiction app (available for free through the iStore or GooglePlay) where you can wait for new chapters to unlock for free, or purchase coins to read it immediately.
If you read up to chapter five on Wattpad and download Radish, start reading from Episode 9 on Radish as the chapters are slightly different there. This does mean that I will be un-publishing the rest of the novel on Wattpad.
Also – keep an eye on my social media for information about a print version. The paperback ought to be out before the end of 2020 (though I won’t commit to a date just now, in case that changes), which means that very soon you’ll be able to bring Jessie and Margaret home with you.
I know some of you will be disappointed by this decision. I appreciate that, and am sorry that I have made you unhappy.
As much as I know that some of you would have preferred for me to keep the book here, I regret that there was not offered the opportunity to keep the book on Wattpad and monetize it. I do have to take any opportunity to monetize my novels where I can, as I am a full-time author and this is literally what pays my rent. This is why I elected to also licence a print version of the book at the same time; that way you’ll have the option to reread it as many times as you like, as often as you like.
Thank you so much for your support and your love of the novel, and your many wonderful comments, and your enthusiastic joy at Jessie and Margaret’s love story. I hope to see you over on Radish, and if not there, I would appreciate it so much if you could all write a review of the book on Amazon and GoodReads when the paperback version is released. That would mean the world to me.
A ‘book photoshoot’ is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. Think of it as a modern ‘glamour shots’ for your book baby: it gets all gussied up, put in a fabulous setting, and photographed under professional lighting and from the most flattering of angles.
Book photoshoots – colloquially known as #bookstagrams, as they evolved from the photos Instagramers would take of the books they were reading – are rarely of just the book alone, and often include settings, props, lighting, and sometimes people.
Bookstagram vs. Shelfie
A “bookstagram” shot is one in which the book itself is the specific star of the shoot, and while it may not be in the centre of the image, it is the centre of attention. A “shelfie” is a shot of either just a set of bookshelves, or a bookshelf with a person or particular highlighted book in frame, where the curation, organization, and decoration of the shelf itself and the books on it are the start of the shoot.
Generally speaking, the Bookstagrammers you’ll find on Instagram (and through there, their own blogs and other social media feeds), are enthusiastic readers who sometimes, but not always, also review the books in the comments. The less staged and curated feeds generally come from readers who just like to document what they’re engaging with, and to interact with fellow readers.
However, like in every other industry on the internet, there are Bookstagram Influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers. These Influencers usually have deals with large publishing outlets or review outlets to get ARCs early so they can work their marketing magic for the book and the author.
In between these two extremes are people who just like having fun taking interesting, well-composed, fun pictures of books. Again, sometimes they review the book they’re photographing, sometimes they don’t/
Why Do a Photo Shoot Yourself?
As an author, the value of creating a photoshoot for your book lies mostly in the creation of another marketing asset to have up your sleeve, and for personal satisfaction. Most people doing these shoots are Bookstagrammers, but I’ve found as an author that having some Bookstagram-style photos of my book is very useful for my own social media feeds, especially when I’m introducing people to my work for the first time via a pinned Tweet or an Instagram Post.
Doing a Bookstagram shoot is also useful because the props and setting that you choose will also give the reader hints regarding the genre and content of the novel. Readers coming into contact with you book for the first time via an online image won’t have the ability to flip it over and read the cover copy (or if we’re talking an online-only book, scroll down to read the summary). So the way you shoot your book will give you the ability to include some of those needed context clues, and help make sure the book reaches the right audience.
Cell phones are generally high enough quality now-a-days to use as your camera, but if you have access to something much fancier and higher-end, go for it. You’ll want to shoot in the highest resolution you can, so the image is nice and crisp.
Decide On “The Look”
No matter which ‘look’ you end up going for, the point of each and every book photoshoot is to evoke a desire for the viewer to step into the photo and pick up the book and start reading. This is why a lot of shoots involve things like beautiful garden benches, picnic blankets or cozy knitted throws, cups of tea, candles, string lights, warm reading socks, fluffy pillows, fresh flowers, pets like ferrets, cats, and dogs, etc.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but here are some of the most common “looks” that people tend to use on Instagram:
-Just the book (more or less)
If you’re going for a themed aesthetic, consider that you’re likely going to want to use the same setting over and over again, so choose something that’s easily accessible and has effortless or minimal-effort set up.
-A Little of Everything
There’s no need to make a clear delineation – I do some Maximalist and some Minimalist with each shoot, and try to do some Cozy shots as well.
Choose Your Setting
Once you’ve figured out which “Look” you’re going for, find somewhere to do the photoshoot that allows you to take the books at several angles. I use my dining room table because I love the richness of the dark brown wood grain, I can easily get above it on a chair for a top-down shot, and the wall behind it is pretty blank and even so if some of the wall is visible, it’s fine.
Choose a place that’s devoid of visual clutter like outlets, light switches, art hung on the wall, or mess that needs tidying. Make sure you check the full range of everything that will be in the shot – the floors, the ceilings, the mirrors – and ensure that there’s nothing that will be caught on the camera that you don’t want seen by your entire audience. Put away laundry, vacuum the carpet, get those cobwebs, move personal photos, and don’t leave anything out on surfaces that you don’t want seen.
Make sure that you’re able to achieve a nice crisp focus. Clean your lenses, and if you have an auto-focus, make sure that it’s concentrated on the book title and not on anything else in your composition.
You’re going to want a light source directly aimed at the face of your book (best to use a matte cover than a glossy one, if possible), as well as ambient lighting. I turn on my dining room light, the one over the table, for the ambient light. I also have a goose-neck reading lamp, whose head I can manipulate and aim. However, because this light is very harsh and can create cutting and dark shadows, I tape a single kleenex tissue over the end of the metal shade to diffuse the light and make it less like a theatre spotlight.
Play with the different kinds of lamps, colours of tissue paper or transparent light gels or candy wrappers you have around the house. (Be wary of fire hazards!) Move the light around until you’re happy with how everything is lit.
And be aware of where your own shadow is in frame – try not to get between the light source and your book and props. (Unless, of course, you are deliberately trying to throw shadow onto the shot because it’s a thriller or mystery book, in which case, make it look as deliberate and crisp as possible!)
Experiment with the angle from which you want to shoot the book, and always double check what else is in frame when you move the camera – you might accidentally catch that shadowed corner or clutter pile you were hoping to avoid.
Try many different angles with the same set up – birds-eye view, from below, from straight on, etc.
It’s okay to shoot bigger and wider than you plan to crop the image. In fact, it’s suggested. That way you have a bit of wiggle room.
Cropping & Filters
Always save a copy of the raw, unaltered photograph before you start playing with cropping and filters. You’ll want to crop the photo into a perfect square for most social imaging platforms – except, infuriatingly, Twitter. So as you’re playing with the filters (I like to really pump up the contrast and colour saturation to make sure the lettering on the covers is legible and popping), save both an uncropped and a square version of the picture so you can use it along many platforms.
If you’re photographing a series, consider ensuring that the tone, spacing, and ‘feel’ of each photo of each book is consistent. You want viewers to look at the photos and immediately understand that these books are supposed to go together.
But What If I Don’t Have a Physical Book?
If you don’t have a physical copy of the book, you can either bring up a picture of your cover on a tablet or smartphone and include the device in your photoshoot, to represent the fact that the book is available in a digital-only format. You can also superimpose it onto a stock photo if you’re fancy like that, or use the DIY Book Covers site to generate one (https://diybookcovers.com/3Dmockups/), like I did here:
This image is composed entirely in Canva in a few minutes. It needs some work, because obviously the shadows on the pearls and the smartphone aren’t entirely correct, but for about ten minute’s worth of tinkering, it’s pretty good. You can easily compose an entirely-digital Bookstagram photo if you have the know-how or watch a few tutorials about photoediting.
If you have any questions about this article, please feel free to leave a comment! I’m happy to address specific topics, so feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment here with your query. You can find the rest of my Words for Writers articles here.