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.
This look we created for them has been carried across to their website – www.mckenziesisters.com – 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
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: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05drp2c#play.
Carmella’s Top 5 Local Radio Tips for Indie Authors
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: www.mckenziesisters.com