LIVE! — THE RENTAL + giveaway!

TheRentalBlitzBanner1Today The Rental is finally published! YAY! Below you’ll find all sorts of goodies including a giveaway, so keep scrolling . . .

The Rental eBook cover

Book & Author Details:
The Rental by Rebecca Berto
(The Rental #1)
Publication date: September 22, 2014
Genres: Adult, Erotic Romance

At first, Rick Delaney watched Vee Wyland with the hungry eyes of a fox as if she were a rabbit … his rabbit. But one day, he slunk away without notice.

Months away from graduating high school, Vee’s life is on the verge of crumbling. At home, dire finances and long hours test her family. Her boyfriend hardly pays attention to her. And she can’t shake her feelings for his older brother, Rick.

Then, all in one night, tragedy tears her teetering life into shreds.

When Rick and Vee reunite, the sparks fly. However, she unwittingly signs away a future for both of them. In his world, a place called The Rental, she becomes Victoria and Rick becomes Rhett. One part of her watches with fascination, while the other unfurls and embraces her sexual awakening. It began as a game, but the consequences are real.

Following their heart’s desire is forbidden, but walking away could strip their hope for a future.

The Rental is an erotic romance that explores how sex isn’t purely physical; sometimes, it’s a gateway to your soul.



The Rental teaser-hand

• • •  Buy the book  • • 

Amazon  |  Nook  |  iBooks  |  Kobo

The Masquerade - Rebecca BertoKDP
Download the prequel, The Masquerade, for FREE (can be read before or after The Rental).

Amazon  |   Nook  |  iBooks  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords


The Masquerade teaser

• • •  The Rental excerpt  • • 

Laundry-room Moment:

At the entry, I met Rick. Looking up, I took in his clean-shaven jawline; crisp, fitted shirt; sleeves rolled at his elbows. How could the guy be more gorgeous every time I saw him? I glanced down at his black jeans and leather-tapered shoes. Holy shit.

I let out a breath and tried smiling at his face, but I couldn’t hold the intense gaze of his for more than a split second, so I looked down to my boots. I slid past him, and déjà vu slammed into my chest.

Not ready for a laundry encounter like last week, I took a cup and focused on steadying my trembles as I reached for the tap. I dared to look at him and he was fixated on my fingers. Not a moment later, his big hands engulfed mine. My trembles disappeared at his touch.

Rick had a presence around people, but around me, his gravitational pull was overwhelming. And right now, it scared me—wanting to run away, yet also wanting to fall deeper into this moment.

I was with Justin.

Justin was Rick’s brother.

“You okay?” He looked into my eyes and felt my forehead with the back of his hand. “You’re burning.”

I blushed and looked away to hurry some ice into my cup. “It’s damn hot in that garage. It’s crazy.”

“Ah.” He paused for so long that I felt the air thicken in my throat as I swallowed. “It is. But you’re okay?”

Was I? The right answer was yes, but I sure as hell didn’t feel that way. He was my whirlwind, and he’d swept into my world with all-encompassing force, spinning me again and again with our meetings. The hairs on my skin stood on end. “Oh, totally,” I said lightly. “Go on and enjoy your party.”

He remained and looked at me. The corner of his lips turned up, but it felt forced and weighed down by the other downturned corner. His eyes, once warm, were now dreary. Even his body seemed to be slumping.

He turned, but caught himself on the door and smiled. “I am. Trust me, I am.” Like that, he flipped his mood. I didn’t know what caused it or why. Maybe Justin’s whacky behaviour had plagued Rick all week too, and my mention of ‘enjoying’ himself reminded him of that.

“You staying past midnight?”

“Yeah. I mean, maybe, maybe not. Might just leave a tip for your show. I heard they’re all putting in.”

“You want to see the show, Vee?”

I shuddered hearing him say my name. Damn it, the guy’s voice was smooth, yet coarse enough to rough up my insides. I smiled, confident. I wasn’t going to let my stupid drunken head get the better of me. And stuff the water! I was going to grab another Cruiser. I dumped the water and ice down the drain, grabbed a bottle from a pack, and stepped between Rick’s body and the nearby bench.

“Yeah,” I said. “I wanna see it.”

“Before you go …”

I halted, holding my breath, and the sensation of the icy bottle slipped away. I let my eyes roam, and drank him in the way I intended to with my drink. Passionate, private, and poisoning me to sweet surrender.

No touching anywhere wrong. No acting out. No worries.

He opened his mouth to speak, but it hung there, gaping. Rather than exude sexual vibes, it had flipped back to distraught, and it made him look like a big boy. A fragile boy. Like I had to hold him together.

He seemed broken and sad underneath, except as the birthday boy, he wore a cool smile and held his shoulders high—a facade to the rest of the world. Only here, Rick and I were in our own world, one where no barriers existed. Beneath skin deep, I felt the darkness occupying him.

“Birthday hug?” he asked and I answered, “Yes,” at the same time from his previous question.

He leant over me. I watched it in slow motion and my stomach swirled with anticipation. His arm brushed my shoulder and he flicked the laundry door shut. The space was technically the same size, but the room had shrunken. I tilted my head down and inhaled, my nose near his collarbone. My nerves spurred me on while my thoughts screamed at me to stop making a fool of myself. The spice smelt of cologne, but mostly the freshness of frangipani-scented laundry detergent. It was sweet enough I wished I could cuddle up and drift away with it.

Somehow, that whole minute in my head must have only taken a second or two. Rick stepped the other way and yanked down the cord to cover the door window, a view leading to the backyard.

When the blind fell, it was done. The room was closed off. We were alone. For what? This ‘birthday hug?’

I wanted him. Alone. Unseen. But I had no desire to cheat.

He captured me inside his space, his arms around my waist like butterfly wings. My body melted as if he was my heat source and I moulded my chin to the crook of his neck. My hands connected with his chest, feeling his life source beating madly beneath me. I quaked at the touch. Hands gliding, I felt around his contours, up his back until I run out of muscle, then linked my hands over each other and flattened them.

He hummed. Not a moan, nor a plea of pleasure. And it thrilled a spot inside me. Where I was a puzzle piece before—incomplete and in search—our reunion connected it. I had been lonelier than I was aware. My boyfriend hadn’t been there for me for weeks now. He’d been there, oh, yes, how he’d been here, there, and everywhere, but not around me.

Supported by Rick, I felt like a blossoming seed—I’d attached to solid ground and now I was growing with life. I couldn’t recite Rick’s middle name or his favourite dessert, but I could feel his heart against my chest. I could feel the thrum and beat of our bodies in sync. Could feel the residual emotion and heat we’d once had—unsaid and assumed—coming together as one.

Rick parted and hooked my chin in his big, yet soft grasp. His dark eyes held mine, and I couldn’t tear them away. Softly, he said, “Sorry. I mean, I’m not sorry for you, but I am for everything else. So thanks. Thanks for everything when you didn’t have to do anything.” I couldn’t quite focus on his words, as if I was waiting for the punch line to bring it all together, but I felt the emotion behind his voice.

“Thanks,” I said. I didn’t know why I said it back, but it felt right, like the inherent knowledge that simmered to the surface when getting back on a bicycle. There the whole time—understood by the body, even if not by the mind.

Reality sunk on me then, reeling me in. I blinked. Party, blinds, door. Us alone. I yanked the blind up, and Rick turned the doorknob, releasing our privacy.

“Sorry for acting strange,” he admitted. “Like you said, it’s pretty crazy in there and I needed … I needed a break. I’m drunk. I’m … going.” He gave me a parting smile, and it wrapped around my skin, now full of goosebumps in the wake of his departure.



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11 pre-release buzz and exposure tips for authors

In this post, I take off assuming you have your book listed on Goodreads, that you already have a book cover and all the other basics. This post is geared for authors needing to do their own promotion, so while it is great for self-publishers, traditionally contracted authors will find this helpful too if they need to do promotion of their own and are stuck for ideas.

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Do a Goodreads paperback giveaway

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Though many people are reading eBooks, paperbacks are still shiny and wanted formats. They’re special formats of books to put on a real shelf. The benefit you’re going for here regardless if they read the paperback is exposure. It’s free to list and only costs you the price of the book and postage which is peanuts compared to book ads.

Take advantage of the fact that Goodreads report many books average 900+ entries and many of them even reach thousands of entries. Now THAT is a lot of new people seeing and reading about your book!

Create and share teasers on social media

E.G. teaser

E.G. teaser

Sharing the favourite parts of your book on social media helps create an army — whether small or enormous — that will get excited about your release too and in turn help promote it out of their own excitement and interest. So go on and grab a properly licenced image (creative commons, stock purchase, or with permission signed by a photographer) and add text.

Images + text = creates more attention, so grab a short excerpt (1-5 sentences, relatively average size) or a tagline and add it to your text and post to social media, welcoming and inviting people to share it.

Share about 3-6 teasers (or more if you have the time) before release and spread it out over a few weeks, not crammed into a few spammy-and-annoying days before release.

Send out ARCs to reputable reviewers weeks before release

Timing is optimal for sending out ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies). Give only days and almost all your reviewers won’t have time to get to it, and give a few months and they could forget about it by the time it comes to reading just before release.

Depending on the length of your book, go for 2-6 weeks ahead of schedule, depending on if you have a novella or short novel upwards to an epic saga.

Do a book blitz or blog tour or review tour

Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 9.05.38 AMThese days, book tours are effective for exposure rather than generating book sales, and book blitz are heading that way too with the market more flooded than ever before.

As I said above though, you need to create a buzz, and you can’t stop trying to create the biggest buzz possible. Book blitzes are a cheaper option and are probably just as effective as book tours (since you can organise reviews on your own, and for free) so the little investment for a book blitz is worth it. You can get tens of blogs upwards to hundreds posting on release day or week for your book. They list the cover, synopsis, Goodreads link, book buy links, and often excerpts or teasers.

Companies for book blitzes or tours include Xpresso Book Tours, AToMR Book Blog Tours, and Love Between The Sheets Promotions. (I personally vouch the quality of these hosts)

Update your social media with posts about your progress on the book

Stay current in the mind of readers and find new readers by posting regularly about your book.

Don’t be spammy and make continual posts about them, so break these up amongst other types, but vary it and gain excitement for your book by posting fun facts, casting characters images, funny bits during your editing process, interesting things about the characters or storyline. Anything that will get people reading and asking questions.

Link reviewers with books sites where they can now post their review of your book

It’s hard for reviewers to keep track of all their reviewing list so kindly remind them they can now post their book review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc, as well as Goodreads if they haven’t already (the former is true for self-publishers since most can’t have book site links before they click publish).

Send out email with book links to bloggers on review day

Book bloggers are overworked and that’s an understatement. Regardless of this fact, they are still gracious people who will help authors share links for their book if they have the time and are interested. Gather the emails of book bloggers who accept and invite authors to email them promotional stuff and let them know that your book is live with link/s and thank them for their help and time.

N.B. always BCC everyone or email individually with their names in separate emails!

Do a post with links

If you have a blog, why not use, it? For every social media account you have, post links with your books.

Pictures help for a better result so add your book cover and/or a teaser to your post and link Goodreads and all the available book sites to buy your book. For Amazon, I recommend using a site like BookLinker because it sends the clicker to their country’s Amazon site. You then don’t have to list the ~11 country Amazon links AND you can check your click hits, too!

Send out to email subscribers

Do you have an email newsletter list? Don’t forget about this one! Most authors don’t use this regularly so it can be easy to forget. Why not use the tens, hundreds, thousands, or more people you have waiting to hear stuff about your books? Regardless of your list length, this will be beneficial!

Highly recommended and free!

Highly recommended and free!

Do a pre-release tour or book blog post features

It’s popular to do a feature on book blogs when and after you publish, but even if you’re a self-publisher who can’t list pre-order links, you can still gain interest and start that buzz by doing a feature with a host, or asking some bloggers yourself if you can feature you and your book on their site.

You never know what will work for exposure, so why not see if book bloggers want to feature you and get in front of their many thousands of eager book-reading followers?

Hold giveaways for readers to win prizes

Authors have their cover completed well before publishing, so why not use that to even more of an advantage! Order bookmarks or key rings or another promotional item with your cover or cover image and then hold giveaways for readers in exchange for entries such as adding your book to Goodreads or sharing a picture or post on social media.

I hope this list helped you!

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Find Rebecca Berto’s books on Amazon and Goodreads.

Sign up to her newsletter (filled with book updates and free stuff)! SIGN UP HERE

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ENTWINE is LIVE for $0.99 — limited time price! + giveaway

My baby, Entwine, is all yours and out in the world! Thanks to Xpresso for hosting the book release blitz event…


Book description:

Sarah Langham’s life was the epitome of normal until her dad slept with another woman when she was sixteen. It ripped her family apart.

Twenty-two-year-old Sarah has it together, though.

Waiting at the train station to go home from her first day of her first proper job out of university, she spots a man.

He is an enigma to her. She’s drawn to him, with his square jaw; buzz of hair; and his tall, solid frame, seen under the contours of his business suit. And he’s been looking at her, too. Fate pulls them together that night on a whirlwind date, exceeding anything Sarah’s experienced before. He’s even more into her than she’s into him. Finally, she wants to trust a guy for the first time since she was sixteen.

But then they discover something.

Something that meant they were never two strangers at a train station.

And it threatens to tear their future apart before it, really, ever begins.

*Recommended for mature readers due to explicit content.*

~ Book #2 coming early – mid 2014 ~

[This book is published in Australian English and includes relative diction.]


Entwine - Rebecca Berto - 3D - seriesTitle: Entwine

Series: Entwine #1

Age group: New Adult

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Published: November 23, 2013

* * *


When Sarah first came home her ears had a faint ring in them, and now, in the aching silence, they buzzed at her fiercely. Her first thought was Ah! Relative quiet for once. I’ll just sneak in and get my mobile phone. Now she wished her dad had been doing anything else, even playing that stupid rock ‘n’ roll music. She had a solution for that: plug in her Favourites playlist and turn the volume up.

She heard the first moan, whispering through the walls. She was drawn toward the sound in her parents’ bedroom; it was like the undeniable dread of watching someone being bullied from afar. It was being unsure how to make it stop.

But Sarah’s mum was out, and there was definitely two people making those sounds in there. For the first few moments, Sarah wondered if her mum had suddenly materialised here. Why else would her dad be moaning in sync with that female voice, and the bed legs be screeching in that way?

She remembered arriving into the silence that had encased her, replacing the throbbing sounds from the party she’d just been at, thinking it all seemed too quiet in here.

She was right.

Sarah felt the blood drain from her face. A sense of nothingness washed over her as she braced her palm to the wall outside her parents’ bedroom, narrowly preventing her wobbly legs from taking her down.

What should she do?

She willed her ears to block out what she heard, but she knew sticking her fingers in the holes wouldn’t help a bit. And her dad didn’t deserve to be the reason she harmed herself if she poked inside too hard.

Sarah wished she could run, but instead her feet stayed rooted against the wall, and she shivered at the choice she had to make. What would she do, tell her mum that she could hear the bed creaking against the frame, that her dad’s friend wasn’t trying to be quiet at all?

The sounds triggered a memory. She’d caught a weird text message when sitting at the kitchen bench, her playing with her dad’s phone, her mum still at work. Her dad had snapped his mobile phone from her fingers and told her to go to her room. Her shock back then debilitated her choice to tell her mum. Her voice didn’t work when she tried to speak, and her throat was tight even when she swallowed. Now, hearing what was happening behind the wall, she had no idea where to even begin.

Sarah clamped a hand over her mouth in case she sobbed loudly, forced her other hand to push her from the lure of the wall where she had been frozen, and to walk herself out the front door.

Back to that party. Back through the shadows of darkness and odd orbs of light, along the sidewalk, back to the noise and the alcohol, and the people trying to forget their responsibilities.

She combed her fingers through her mocha brown hair, the ends tapering off at her breasts. It was the same colour as her mum’s. Would her dad hate her now, being reminded of the wife he clearly had no care for? Would physical factors, like Sarah’s pale grey eyes, the same shade as her mum’s favourite cardigan, be as horrible to him as her inner qualities?

She realised when she got to the party that she never did get her mobile phone from her room as she had originally intended, so she’d have to wait for someone to open the door.

There were two fanning plants in pots, framing the double door entrance. A porch stretched under the balcony of the first floor and a swinging bench sat at the far end beside the garden bed. The music was so loud the bass vibrated through the concrete underneath her feet and she could only hear a faint sound when she tried knocking anyway.

She blinked against the memory of the sound of the bed frame creaking and that shrieking sound that made her insides churn, until soon enough a drunk girl in a miniskirt stumbled out the door with a guy staring at her ass, laughing at nothing at all.

Sarah slipped inside, found a corner free on a couch next to two people chatting and bit her lip, thinking too much when she shouldn’t have been thinking much at all, as a regular sixteen-year-old at a regular house party.

Click to buy from Amazon for $0.99!

Click to buy from Amazon for $0.99!

~~~ BUY LINKS ~~~

Amazon (international links)  |  Amazon Australia  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |


Prizes: 3 eBooks, 2 bookmarks & $15 Amazon gift card

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Find Rebecca Berto’s books on Amazon and Goodreads.

Sign up to her newsletter (filled with book updates and free stuff)! SIGN UP HERE

Follow Novel Girl by the buttons in the top left corner of the home page.

Suggested professionals for hire

Search no more! I have professionals to hire here, that I suggest, for your eBooks and paperbacks. It isn’t a huge list but for self-publishing authors, high-quality recommendations go a long way in saving time and money, lowering stress, and increasing satisfaction.

• • •

If you want a cover design, remember I own Berto Designs and can turnaround a design in a week which is much quicker than other designers as I’m still building my client base.

Drop me a line at: or visit my website or Facebook page.

• • •



Lauren K McKellar (structural, copy/line, and proofreading)

Website  |

Danielle Poiesz (structural, copy/line, and proofreading, manuscript analysis)

Website  |  Twitter  |

COVER DESIGNERS (some do blog and swag design too)

Berto Designs (that’s me!)
Website  |  Facebook  |

Cover It Designs
Website  |  Facebook  |

Eden Crane Design (estimated pricing — please check)
Facebook  |

Najla Qamber Designs
Website  |  Facebook  |

Once Upon a Time Covers
Website  |  Facebook  |

Wicked by Design
Facebook  |

E.M. Tippetts Book Designs
Website  |

—– ROUGHLY ABOVE $150 —–

KILA Designs
Website  |  Facebook  |

Steph’s Cover Design
Website  |  Facebook  |

—– ABOVE $350 —–

Website  |  Facebook  |

Mae I Design and Photography
Website  |  Facebook |

Okay Creations
Website  |  Facebook  |

Phatpuppy Creations
Website  |  Facebook  |

FORMATTERS (eBook and paperback)

E.M. Tippetts Book Designs
Website  |

Fictional Formats
Facebook  |

JT Formatting
Facebook  |


Xpresso Book Tours (Only for YA and NA books and their genres)

AToMR (Only for books with romance as the category or subcategory)

Good Choice Reading (Most genres)

Literati Literature Lovers

Book Addict Mumma

Dark World Book Tours
Website  |  Facebook  |

Lady Amber’s Tours

Luscious Laylah Release Day



Rebecca Berto is the author of PreciseDrowning in You and Pulling Me Under (sequel to Precise) If you want book-release updates, please sign up at this form (email only when news, not weekly).

Follow Novel Girl by the buttons in the top left corner of the home page to stay updated.

Survey results: What are your book-buying habits?

A week ago I posted a survey for Novel Girl readers to fill out. The result was fantastic. I’m about to share the results here. Please keep in mind I’m just one tiny author/blogger and I’m not a powerhouse. That said, I got 100+ responses (104 to be exact) and in my opinion, that is a decent amount to use to analyse and learn from these results.

Without further ado, I will post the questions, a graphic of the answer, and my thoughts.

Preferred formats to buy a book

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My Thoughts: it’s easy to underestimate the importance of other book formats besides an eBook, but remember the collective total of paperbacks, hardbacks and audiobooks made up the larger percentage (51%). eBook only make up ~50% of preferred formats.

Of course, the most bought format is different to preferred, but I’d say have a paperback available. Through createspace it is so cheap to organise if you live in the US and not much more expensive if you live outside the US. Think broadly!

Where do you like to buy books?

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My Thoughts: I expected a slight higher percentage buying online. Are you surprised? If you have a favourite bookstore near you and have the time and means to get it in there, now might be the time to enquire since ~1/4 of book buyers want to go in-store still.

Favourite store/s to buy books from

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Other = Locally-owned, independent stores | independent bookstores | Goodwill | Toronto: Type, BMV Dymocks | Thriftbooks | and Chapters | Local Bookstore | used book stores | Fact N Fiction (New Delhi) | also used books stores & the library | Anderson’s Bookshop | WHSmith | Chapters/Indigo | Ebay, Big W

My Thoughts: This proves Amazon is vitally important, but choosing their Select program rules out 42% of other preferred stores to buy from. Now that’s a big cut! Barnes & Noble and the Book Depository jointly make up 1/4 of the results. This”42%” figure in actual terms is bigger because of all the “other” options people chose, as listed above.

Favourite genre to buy and read

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My Thoughts: Romance has historically been the biggest seller and to date remains that way. The next biggest genres listed (New Adult and Young Adult) are published in high frequency as a crossover with romance, so in all, you can see romance totally dominates. If you are publishing in lesser desired genres, you could think about incorporating aspects of romance of coming-of-age stories for a broader audience.

Does the publisher matter to you?

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My Thoughts: This was a fantastic surprise! Seems like readers don’t care (my opinion is so long as the book looks and reads professionally).

Where do you find new books to read?

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My Thoughts: Again, I stress the importance of word-of-mouth. Reviews and posting about publication of a new book is cool, but readers buy based on trust of another avid reader. So get your book into hands of readers and bloggers who’ll promote you if they love your book!

Do you read reviews? Which ones are influential in buying/not buying a book?

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My Thoughts: It’s important to find targeted reviewers if you send out ARCs or review copies. 55% of book buyers take notice to all reviews, and 82% will at least scan reviews for particular ones they are after. Bottom line is you want to put review copies in the hands of people likely to enjoy your genre and style, since you can impact this part of published reviews.

Are “star” ratings important to you?

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My Thoughts: This is great to hear. Some of the biggest sellers in history have average to low star ratings for a variety of reasons. it isn’t a biggie if your book doesn’t have a 4.5- to 5-star average.

Do you read free books? would you then continue on to buy more books by that author?

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[click the image to view larger version in new window]

My Thoughts: Another happy surprise! Free books are widely read in some circles, and 61% of  people who love a free book will go on to purchase other books by that author. A further 16% read all freebies. These are amazing results. Don’t underestimate the power of giving away one of your books for free.

For more info on this, read a guest post on Novel Girl going into this further here.

eBook pricing

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My Thoughts: Think about your career goals. Readers will spend their money on a book they love, so you don’t have to feel pressured to price at $0.99.

How important is a good book cover? (rate 5 very important; 1 doesn’t matter)

Screen Shot 2013-08-09 at 10.15.39 AMMy Thoughts: I stress notice here! Book with great covers sell well, whether you agree or disagree. Almost 3/4 of book buyers are heavily swayed by a well designed cover. If you’re in need of a new cover or even an updated cover, you can hire me (Berto Designs) or look at this list of other book designers I recommend.

What aspect of book covers draw you in?

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My Thoughts: Romance and beauty are the most attractive (hehe pun intended) covers for book buyers. These factors (abs, kisses, beautiful woman) make up 37% of this poll. Care with font choice can grab a buyer, too, it seems.

Note these results are probably true for YA — Adult fiction (opposed to MG and Kids Fiction).

How important is quality editing and proofreading?

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My Thoughts: Only 7% didn’t mind if you haven’t had editing and proofreading done for your book. This actually surprises me. The base line is you must hire a qualified professional. Need one? I use and recommend Lauren McKellar (senior editor at Entranced and editor for PETS magazine).

Preferred gender of narrator

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My Thoughts: I love this! Females may make up 3/4 of readers but 75% of book buyers want a mixture of narrator genders.

Do you wait until a book is on sale if you think the author will later discount?

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My Thoughts: The current book environment sees double, triple and maybe quadruple more frequent book sales than a few years ago. This is a mixed bag of results, with reader preferences varied.

Do you subscribe to any of the following and buy from them?

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My Thoughts: If you haven’t considered advertising with book sale subscription companies, I suggest you do. BookBub and Amazon’s Kindle Daily Deals affect chart toppers. I know this from my own experience and watching charts. The “Other” answer option may include “NOs” and also other actual companies. Not many book buyers don’t subscribe to anything.

• • • • •

Thank you for reading! I hope this helps. Have any other comments? Just leave a reply.



Rebecca Berto is the author of Precise and Drowning in You. If you want book-release updates, please sign up at this form (email only when news, not weekly).

Follow Novel Girl by the buttons in the top left corner of the home page to stay updated.

What are your book-buying habits? A survey


In a world where all authors — regardless of publisher — have a chance of hitting #1 on the New York Times and Amazon best seller lists, I have put together a survey for my lovely Novel Girl readers to discover certain trends. Whether author or reader, we’re all interested in the shift that’s occurring between physical book stores vs online stores, traditional publishers vs self-publishers, and more.

If you have a minute, I have some questions in this poll that I’d love you to share your thoughts on. I’ll put them together afterwards and you can come back and have a reference post. Please share this via email or social media to invite your friends! The bigger and varied the results, the more reliable they’ll be. :)

[or direct link:]

Thank you for your time!



Rebecca Berto is the author of Precise and Drowning in You. If you want book-release updates, please sign up at this form (email only when news, not weekly).

Follow Novel Girl by the buttons in the top left corner of the home page to stay updated.

How to choose an editor

Guest post by: Lauren McKellar

I know you’re pretty sceptical, right? A post on how to choose an editor written by *cough* an editor? But hear me out; after all, as someone in the industry, I definitely have a fairly good idea on the subject matter.

Option A: The ‘I’ll Have What She’s Having’ approach

We’ve all been down this road before. As writer people, we have writer friends; and, if you have writer friends, chances are one of them has hired an editor.

Ask them their thoughts on the process. Did they like the person they worked with? Was the feedback helpful? Were the rates reasonable? Was the schedule met? And (most importantly) would they work with them again?

If you’ve asked all these questions and found someone who is truly happy with their current editor, it may be time you approached them for a quote.

Option B: Flying Blind

So, all your writer friends are with publishing houses and you’re stuck trying to find a good editor from scratch. Or your author peeps all hate their current editors and have strongly suggested you find a new one, one that likes Pina Coladas and walks in the rain (or maybe that’s just me).

Don’t go in flying blind. There are several things you can do to determine if you and this person claiming to have the editorial goods are a match made in heaven or two different sized shoelaces.

Don’t choose based on price.


(Photo credit: Timo Heuer)

Yes, price will come into your decision at some point, but if you go for the cheapest editor around it could end in heartbreak. If something seems too good to be true, it very well could be.

Make sure you check for any hidden pricing loopholes (e.g. time spent on work incurring extra fees, questions about editing resulting in more finance) and check the quality of their work before committing.

Of course, there are some cheap and quite skilled freelance editors out there (this is the part where I could say I’m one of them, but I won’t, because I’m not a hard sell like that). Check the quality of work before committing by asking for a…

Sample edit.

Many editors will offer a sample edit to show you the sort of service they can provide. Some will extend this branch for free, and others will charge. This should give you a fairly good idea of your editor-to-be’s skills and their approach.

Do they have a membership?

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 8.12.17 PMLet’s be honest: we’re living in a time where people from Nigeria send you emails about the millions you’ve inherited from a goat farm, if only you’ll send your bank details over.

It’s a world of con artists out there, and editors are no exception. If you’re looking at a new editor, check their website for testimonials (with links to actual books!) and see if they’re a member of an industry body. These groups can vary according to country, but there are a lot of them, and they’re generally quite reasonably priced and require references for membership – you want your editor to be aligned with one.

What’s their bedside manner like?

This is definitely a negotiable point, but when you email your editor-to-be, do they sound professional? Friendly? Or is their tone short and their words misspelt?

Open up that initial email and judge – judge harshly! Do you want to accept editor-level criticism from someone who accidentally said ‘their’ not ‘they’re’? Do you want someone who sounds nice and easy to relate to, or someone with a very professional and courteous tone? You’re going to be getting a lot of criticism from your editor, so it’s important you know what you want.

Good luck on your journey to find your ultimate editing partner; I wish you a long a happy edit-marriage together.


Note from me, Rebecca.

I’d like to take the floor quickly to tell you I personally, highly recommend Lauren. She has been perfect for me editing-wise and easy and quick to chat to.

Novel Girl ad for Lauren McKellar

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936682_445804275510239_1270348041_nLauren McKellar is a freelance editor currently taking on new clients for late August and beyond. With over six years publishing experience, she is currently a Senior Editor for digital romance house Entranced Publishing.

For more information on her services, visit her website here.

Important news: “Being Kalli” isn’t being published

I am sad to announce this news about my novel, Being Kalli but I love being able to have such a close connection to my readers and I need to say some stuff.

First up the news:

Being Kalli.v2.2.1I have decided Being Kalli won’t be published in the next couple of months as I had hoped. It may never get published. This is because I pride myself on publishing manuscripts that are as close to perfection as I can make them and I’ve had conflicting feedback regarding this story. Unfortunately, my confidence is wavering. I’ve been having thoughts and worries about publishing this story for a while and have decided if I’m uncertain as I have been, it’s better to not publish it.

I can’t make a first impression again, and I want the published novel to as good as it can be. I believe it’s a great story but I’m the most biased person around in my position. Maybe it’s not, but I can’t take that risk.

The Outlook:

I don’t want to make myself a liar. There is a chance I could still publish it in the future. It could be 2014, 2015 … I have no idea when I’ll get my confidence back but I don’t have it anymore and I can’t let it out thinking it’s “good enough”.

The good news in all this:

The good news is I could publish it if my readers want this story. That’s why I’ve put up the first 12 chapters in early, unedited draft form. There may be typos or sentences that aren’t all that clear (thank goodness for editors who take care of these issues), but it is available to read on Wattpad.

It would mean the absolute world to me if you give it a go and give me feedback in the form of voting it up, commenting, messaging me or sharing it with an interested friend to read.

Wattpad is a site for writers to post their writing drafts up for readers to follow along and read as chapters are posted.

>>> You can read chapters 1 — 12 of Being Kalli here. <<<

I have a feeling you’re probably wondering what I’ll be up to next, and so I’ll let you know I’m going to be focusing on my Pulling Me Under series (the novella prequel book #0.5, Precise (a new, special edition) and the upcoming novel #1, Pulling Me Under). These stories are psychological, dark contemporary books.

Precise is already published and available at different stores here.


And if you do feel like posting encouraging words, I always read my comments on my posts from my amazing Novel Girl readers.

Thanks for reading this and sorry to have let you all down, but it’s for the best for all of us!



Rebecca Berto is the author of Precise, and Drowning in You. If you want book-release updates, please sign up at this form (email only when news, not weekly).

Follow Novel Girl by the buttons in the top left corner of the home page to stay updated.

Author interview: P.C Zick on writing and selling books

Author: PC Zick

Author: PC Zick

Today, I have author, PC Zick to chat on Novel Girl on writing, her books, and her tips for writers and self-publishers.

PC Zick is the author of three books, and a range of genres: literary fiction, women’s fiction and stories about environmental issues.


What is your favorite time to write?

I love to write first thing in the morning with my first cup of coffee at my side. Now that I’m spending so much time promoting and writing a blog, it often is put off until later in the day. When that happens, I clear my desk, eat lunch, and then begin writing.

One of these days, when I’m through the learning curve of learning about cyberspace marketing, I’ll get back to making writing the priority, and the rest comes when I’ve done my pages for the day.

Where is your favorite place to write?

It depends on what I’m doing. If I’m starting a blog or story (or chapter) from scratch, I often grab a legal pad and my box of sharpened pencils and leave my office. I might go to the living room; I might crawl in bed; I might go to a coffee shop or library, if home distractions are too great.

Once I’m ready to write the entire blog or chapter, I go to my very favorite place to write, which is my office. I finally have the office of my dreams with a desk that wraps around me on three sides with bookshelves across from me and all my favorite tidbits that inspire me. My newest addition is a stone turtle my husband gave me for my birthday to celebrate the publication of Trails in the Sand.

At the risk of sounding pompous, what do you love most about your fiction?

I try to put my characters in situations we’ve all faced at one time or another. They are exaggerated situations to make the story more exciting, but people can relate to the emotions and reactions. I try to show what happens when we fail to communicate. I also show that we all have flaws, but there’s always a chance for redemption.

In Trails in the Sand, I attempted to show that we can’t judge another person unless we’ve walked the very same path in the very same shoes.

PC Zick's "Trails in the Sand"

PC Zick’s “Trails in the Sand”

What other books would you say have similar qualities to Trails in the Sand that would interest readers to try your novel?

One of my reviewers compared me to Anne Rivers Siddons, which floored me because she’s one of my favorite authors. I hadn’t thought about comparing myself to her. I did reread Beach Music by Pat Conroy — another favorite author — before I started the second draft. His depiction of crazy southern families always intrigued me although he goes so far, it also scares me. In addition, in Beach Music, the rescuing of sea turtles plays a role in the plot as it does in Trails in the Sand.

Do you have any tips to improve writing?

  1. Read, read, and read some more. Read the best writers and sometimes read not-so-good writers. We can learn from both. Apply what you learn from your reading to your own work.
  2. Listen to your critics. Work with beta readers and editors because everyone needs honest feedback and editing.
  3. Read dialogue aloud and cut out the formality in dialogue. Avoid dialect — use words to imply someone’s background (“fetch” instead of “get” for a North Carolina dialect).
  4. Study point of view and make sure you know the difference in the types and apply it in your writing.
  5. Whether you are self-publishing or going the traditional route always put forth your very best effort. We’re in a revolution in the writing and publishing world with many more opportunities for writers, but if we put out crap as Indie Writers, we all lose.

Do you have any selling tips?

I’m such a newbie in the new world of self-publishing that I’m not sure. I would advise anyone getting involved in any type of writing or publishing to be flexible, study, and listen. I try many different methods and some have worked and others not so much. Interestingly enough, the times I’ve paid for promotion, I’ve failed miserably. There are so many free opportunities out there now that I would advise writers to save money for a cover artist and an editor. Persevere even when you feel like quitting, and believe me, I have days where I’m discouraged. But I get up, read the blogs I follow and leave a couple of comments on ones that touched me in some way. I tweet for others, not just myself. I write my blog. I solidify my platform by posting things on the topics found in my books. I make sure that I do more than just bombard folks with messages about buying my books.

Each day I gain more followers on my blogs; reviews slowly trickle in, and I hope that one day all this translates into steady sales figures for my books.

Thank you for the opportunity to be reviewed today, Rebecca. I enjoyed answering these interesting questions.


Book links:

Amazon  |  Smashwords  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Goodreads (reviews only)  |

Author links:

Website  |  Blogs: Living Lightly and Writing Whims  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |


Buy on Amazon!

DrowningInYou AMAZON<<< Buy Precise from Amazon for kindle or from Smashwords for all types of eReading devices. Or, follow my blog by the buttons in the top left corner of the home page.

>>> Enter to WIN and add my New Adult Contemporary Romance novel, Drowning in You to Goodreads. (Coming April 12, 2013)

How to edit out crap from your manuscript

Photo credit: Dan Patterson (

Photo credit: Dan Patterson (“creepysleepy”)

Editing can be damn hard but there are aspects of copy/line editing that, as I detail below, are dead easy to implement while you edit your manuscript. Here are some of the classics errors I tend to make and then edit out in the next draft.


Example of cluttered writing:

— Original —

“I pull my pillow over my face, clutch it to me with both forearms thrown over and scream.”

Note: where else would I be clutching it to? Just a waste of words that ultimately bulk up the text for no good reason.

— Revision —

“I pull my pillow over my face, clutch it with both forearms thrown over and scream.”

Example of repetition:

— Original —

“Her voice echoes down the house, all the way to the pool house, and it’s when her voice peaks in the middle that I know she’s coming up the stairs.

“Ciao?” She calls at the top of the stairs, three rooms down from mine.”

Note: what the hell was I thinking. Obviously, I’m cutting some shit, badly!

— Revision —

“Her voice echoes down to the pool house, and it’s when it peaks in the middle that I know she’s coming up the stairs.

“Ciao?” She calls at the top, three rooms down from mine.”

Example of unbalanced list:

— Original —

“She was referring to the type that kidnap you, rape and kill you.”

Note: always use the same structure. I.e. “running, walking, and swimming”, not “you like to run, do walking, and swim”.

— Revision —

“She was referring to the type that kidnap, rape and kill you.”

Example of overwriting:

— Original —

“Darcy puffs out two cheekfuls of pent up air and slams the cordless phone back into another cradle in the hallway.”

Note: too confusing and too much. Simplify.

— Revision —

“Darcy huffs and slams the cordless phone back into a cradle in the hallway.”

Example of the useless adverb:

— Original —

“Come back,” I say to him as he attempts to run off immediately.”

Note: tell me in what way, in anyyy way, how that stupid thing tacked on makes a difference? The reader will imagine “him” running off as the character talks, so adding that word anyway is dead weight.

— Revision —

“Come back,” I say to him as he attempts to run off.”


What simple tricks do you have to add to this list?


Buy on Amazon!

DrowningInYou AMAZON<<< Buy Precise from Amazon for kindle or from Smashwords for all types of eReading devices. Or, follow my blog by the buttons in the top left corner of the home page.

>>> Enter to WIN and add my New Adult Contemporary Romance novel, Drowning in You to Goodreads. (Coming April 12, 2013)