Category: Just launched

Sisters Launch Debut Novels on Local Radio

Carmella and Alison McKenzie have just self-published their debut novels. They grew up in the sixties, where imagination was their iPad and the great outdoors was their television. Their creativity kept them entertained as they would make up games and recreate stories. Now they are both writing and self-publishing novels together. It started when Carmella was living in Cyprus for a short while and started to write. Alison became her editor and loved getting involved with the stories. It gave her the writing bug, and she decided to have a go herself. The two of them have found writing together great fun and enormously rewarding.

The sisters approached us earlier in the year with several novels and were brimming with ideas for future projects and series. We were very excited, and as a brother and sister team ourselves, it was great to work with another sibling double act. We wanted to create a brand style that would work for both sisters and their future works, as well as their first novels. Our designers went to the drawing boards and came up with a light, fresh style that reflects the commercial women’s market and the elements of the magical and unexplained that creep into these stories to add intrigue.

mckenzie sisters

This look we created for them has been carried across to their website – – and social media profiles too. The sisters were delighted with the look of their books. Alison comments:

“I always knew our covers would have a different kind of picture on the front. I wanted to concentrate on the text with small images representing the story; the robin, clock and heart were part of my first drawing. Carmella wanted a slightly different look, a bigger picture, in keeping with the popular chick-lit style.

The designer was  able to keep both our ideas and yet bring the covers together with the same background colouring, and the fonts worked well. The fact that the author name font has continued onto the website helps promote the style that we are also using on our Facebook page, posters, adverts for Christmas fairs and other book promotions.”

Launching on Local Radio

local radio

The sisters were interviewed on the local station, BBC Radio Devon, last week. They discussed their books and what it’s like writing and working together. Carmella is no stranger to radio, having been on the air as a presenter for many years. She knows just how big an audience you can reach through local radio, so it was always going to be part of their marketing plan.

In these digital days, some authors can overlook more traditional avenues to promote their books, but local radio can really boost your profile and also publicise local events. For example, not only are the sisters having a big launch party in their local Waterstones, they are also doing numerous signings and charity events throughout the local area, which they wanted to invite listeners along to.

Catch up on the full interview on BBC iPlayer here – they come in around 1hr 20mins into the show:

Carmella’s Top 5 Local Radio Tips for Indie Authors

  1. Do your homework. Get listening to work out which specific show you and your book would be the best fit for. Then you need to approach the station manager, or in the case of the BBC, the producer of the specific show you would like to be on.
  2. Prepare your answers. You don’t want it to sound rehearsed but you need to expect certain questions and have answers up your sleeve. You should be able to tell the interviewer what your book is about in a really concise, punchy way.
  3. Lighten up. It’s a good idea to have a lighter anecdote or something amusing about your book or your writing process so that if you feel the dialogue getting a bit too heavy or stilted, you can break that down with a chirpy story.
  4. Have a call to action. Know what you want listeners to do – do you want them to come to a launch event? Do you want them to visit your website? Make sure the interviewer has all these details in advance.
  5. Relax and enjoy it. It can seem intimidating but the interviewer is unlikely to take you off topic onto something you are uncomfortable speaking about. Just imagine it’s a friendly chat between the two of you!

About Haberdashery by Carmella McKenzie

Hannah has always been a bit of a dreamer. She loves nothing more than escaping into the pages of a bodice ripper, where the men are a darn sight more impressive than her husband, Michael. It would be fair to say her 5-year marriage was not living up to her romantic expectations. She channels her frustrations and creativity into her sewing and crafts some beautiful pieces. It started with her own wedding dress, which had a strangely magical look after she discovered a mysterious haberdashery shop and its even more mysterious owner, the quirky Fae Dorothy Grim.

A chance encounter with a tall, dark stranger sets a chain of events in motion, which turn her life around. Still spinning, she hurtles from one big life change to another. Can Hannah make, cut, sew and put a special finish on her own life?

This heart-warming tale will have you rooting for Hannah as she stitches together her new life.

About From The Future With Love by Alison McKenzie

An invite from her best friend to spend the summer in Scotland, and celebrate her twentieth birthday, is just the thing Robyn needs to put some positivity back in her life. On the long drive from Devon, she is strangely drawn to a man she finds collapsed and bleeding in the middle of a wheat field. There is something about this dark-haired, dark-eyed stranger that’s more than mysterious.

The last thing Robyn expects is to become entangled in a romance before even crossing the border, but she feels an inexplicable connection, and perhaps Shay, feeling it too, or due to his bang on the head, starts dropping hints about life in another time. From the Future, With Love is a love story with a time-travelling twist, and a reminder that today’s actions have future consequences.

For a free chapter of each book, head over to their website:

Just Launched: Elvis in London


Alice Beneyto has been a life-long music fan, and listened to the radio constantly with her brother when growing up. Her early (and diverse) record collection included the likes of Bob Marley, Bob Dylan and Velvet Underground. Recently, she became interested in and perplexed by the modern obsession with fame and celebrity, and it is that that inspired her debut novel: Elvis in London.

Alice came to us with a finished manuscript, but needed help with the cover design, as well as producing an eBook and paperback. Our designers got to work straight away, to create something iconic and bold that would instantly be recognisable as Elvis. Then we typeset the text, using the same fun font on the cover for the chapter headings, before creating the paperback and eBook editions for her.

To have all I Am Self-Publishing’s know-how under one virtual roof was reassuring and essential for me as a debut author. There are so many things to take into consideration for what the book actually looks like, from the cover illustration to the typeface and paper quality, and I Am Self-Publishing guided me through the choices. It is worth investing in their expert support. You’ve put all that effort into writing a book, you want it to look first-class once it’s published.” – Alice Beneyto

About Elvis in London

Elvis In London

In many ways, Eddie is an average working class Londoner. He’s into music, partying, and his motorbike. He is laid-back, charming and knows the streets of Soho inside out. And he has a sensational secret. Winning an impersonation competition as Elvis Presley changes Eddie’s life. He is fast-tracked to fame. The media can’t get enough of him and neither can his fans. His electrifying gigs become the hottest tickets in town, and he gets hooked on the power he commands over an audience.

Eddie is torn. The bigger his fame and ego grow, the harder it is to keep his secret. But if he tells the truth, will anyone believe him? Will the media and his fans still adore him? For Eddie is the reincarnation of Elvis Presley.

One bad decision and he could lose everything and everyone he loves. This fast-paced novel will make you laugh, sing and question the cult of celebrity worship.

Buy it now on Amazon

Find out more about Alice Beneyto on her website: or check her out on twitter @alicebeneyto



Just launched: Two Hawks and a Pelican


So many of us wish our elderly relatives would write down their amazing life stories so future generations can share their experiences, but few of us actually get them to do it. Jennifer’s father, Brian Anthony Ashley, was a pilot in the golden age, where pilots could experiment, get up to all sorts of mischief and have a lot of fun!  His passion for planes is clear, and he would never pass up the opportunity to try out a new machine. He absolutely loved flying for the RAF, which took him all over the world and led him to meet some wonderful people.

Jennifer Williams always loved listening to her father and his cronies reminisce about their days in the RAF. She realised that all those stories would all be lost unless he wrote them down. He had already written a few articles for various journals, but had never tackled such a big writing project. Jenni encouraged him to make a record of his legacy but didn’t realise just how big the project would be. Jenni comments, “As the tome grew, we suddenly realised that we actually had a book that my father wanted to publish. Sadly, he died before he was able to achieve this, so at my mother’s request, I took on the task.”

Jennifer then used diaries, photos and logbooks to piece together the rest of the story as accurately as she could. The book, Two Hawks and a Pelican, is a testimony to her father’s memory.

Two hawks and a Pelican spread

“Finding a publisher was initially a minefield. However, as soon as I came across I_AM Self-Publishing, I knew I’d found the right people to help me on my mission.  Right from the first contact, nothing was too much trouble; everything was explained in terms that I, as a layperson, could understand. The whole project was run professionally AND in a time-frame that suited me.

When the final proof arrived, I cried; it was perfect. I’m sure that my father would have been proud of what we had all achieved. Thank you I_AM Self-Publishing for a great job well done.” – Jennifer Williams


About Two Hawks and a Pelican

2hawks-pbkmockIt is the story of a Lincolnshire farm boy who dreamed of being a pilot. Despite leaving school at just 14 to work for the BBC, followed by a stint in the Royal Navy, he finally managed to join the RAF in 1950.

The book follows his career from flight training in Tiger Moths all the way through to the Buccaneer.  Over his years in the RAF, he amassed a staggering 3,160 flight hours, in 42 different aircraft; certainly one of the most prolific pilots of his generation.

He was a photo reconnaissance pilot in the Cold War, flew a Meteor in the Queen’s Coronation Flypast, completed the Empire Test Pilots Course at Farnborough, gained A1 QFI category and Command Instrument Rating Examiners rating in all four categories of aircraft, and enjoyed every moment.

Brian loved to fly, and did anything to beg or borrow any serviceable aircraft whenever possible for a try out. However, his greatest love was the Meteor, in which he flew many displays. He always likened it to a lady; temperamental but well-behaved if handled correctly, deadly if not.

The two Hawks of the title are silver statuettes of the Staff College Hawk of Horus, one awarded from the Staff College at RAF Andover, and the other from the Staff College at RAF Brampton; these, together with the Pelican from the Central Flying School, make a unique collection, of which Brian was very proud.

Available on Amazon in paperback and eBook format, and you can keep in touch with Jennifer on twitter at @WgCdrAshley.