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A new (and fun) twist to promotion!

Storysong Book ReviewedSome people go out of their way to help other writers get their moment in the limelight. Helen Hollick is one such person – and seriously, I suspect she has some very, very special mushrooms growing in a wardrobe somewhere that she munches daily to keep her energy up. Since some years, she runs Discovering Diamonds, a very successful review site (more of that below) and other to this, she keeps on coming up with one creative idea after the other  to allow us writers to shine.

Pirates 800px-Pyle_pirate_handsomeShe has organised blog hops and goes under the nickname Mrs Admiral for the hands-on way she manages these events. (Well, okay: I call her Mrs Admiral, and not only because of the blog hops but because I love her books about drop-dead pirate Jesamiah Acorne) In 2018, she came up with yet another brilliant idea, but I think it is better that I let Helen tell you all about it herself!

Read The Story  . . .  Guess the Song. A look back at the Discovering Diamonds  December Diversion

As some enthusiastic historical fiction readers know, I founded and run (supported by a fantastic team of reviewers and admin helpers) an historical fiction review blog – Discovering Diamonds. We ‘opened for business’ in January 2017 and have been going from strength to strength ever since. We recently had our 1,000th submission enquiry, have had over 334,000 page views, and are (at time of writing this) 14th on the ‘Top 35 Historical Book Blogs & Websites To Follow’.

We are quite picky about the books that get a review published: they must reach a certain ‘value for money’ standard, not only for the writing but for the presentation as well. No one wants to pay good money for a novel that is poorly formatted, let alone poorly written. We only review historical novels with at least 75% of the story set prior to 1953 (that’s because I was born that year, and I refuse to think of myself as ‘historical’!)

But during December we take a break from posting reviews to treat our regular (and many new!) visitors to a special entertainment. For 2018 and 2019 I invited a variety of authors – some well-known, others not as familiar –  to contribute a short story inspired by a song title. It didn’t have to be a well known song, or an historical-based story – and the result was a month long daily dose of pleasure. Some of the stories were amusing, some thoughtful. Some were romances, some were not . . .  in short (excuse the mild pun) anything was acceptable.

The second part of the enjoyment was to guess the song. I gave a (often cunning!) picture-based clue at the top of the page, and some of the stories had hidden clues – although several also had red herrings!

As an example, can you guess the song that goes with this image?

Storysong child-1293438_1280

(Don’t cheat, the answer is at the bottom of this post).

Running the stories was hard work for me. (Why do I offer to do these things? *laugh*) Apart from the obvious formatting of submitted stories onto Blogger (which can be very pedantic at times, especially where fonts and spacing is concerned), I had to find suitable ‘clue’ images (thanks to Pixabay this was quite enjoyable – if time consuming).

Note that there is very strong copyright legislation  for song lyrics, and often titles, so it would not be advisable to write a story about a popular song. There is no copyright, however, on ideas and inspiration. For instance, my story was  inspired by . . .  ah, but that would be a spoiler wouldn’t it?

In addition to providing some entertainment for our readers, the aim was  to promote, in an innovative way, some  good authors, both Indie and Traditional Mainstream. There are some very good Indie writers out there who, unlike mainstream authors who have a publishing company behind them, find marketing their books a challenge. It is not, for most of us, about making money from our novels. We know full well that the profit margins for Indie writers varies between low to non-existent. We write because we want to share our characters to entertain our readers and to, yes, have some little bit of success.

Was the project successful? I don’t know if any authors sold any books, or whether they did attract any new readers – but we had just under 11,000 visitors to Discovering Diamonds during December, so that was a result!

I hope that the stories we shared during December brought a little of that potential success to the authors who joined in, and that readers enjoyed them enough to explore these authors’ novels.

If you would like to submit a historical novel you’ve published for potential review email me (Helen) on Or if you would like to help us support good authors we always welcome new reviewers!

So . . . did you guess the song?

Telling Stories by Tracy Chapman

Start reading here with Anna’s Story  (Yes please, says Anna :) ) then follow  Previous or Next 

Read the stories. Guess the song – and discover new authors and through them, a host of new fictional friends!


Thank you, Helen!
Storysong BlueBorder Facebook SquareI do hope you spend some time reading all those lovely stories that you can find on Discovering Diamonds. And if you’re looking for a great read, whether it be set at sea with an extremely dashing pirate or in the dark ages with a refreshingly “real” Arthur or in 1066 with *sniff* the doomed Harold Godwinson, I strongly recommend that you rush over to Helen’s Amazon page and choose your next read there!

You can follow Helen on Twitter, check her out on her website or why not pop by her blog?

6 thoughts on “A new (and fun) twist to promotion!”

  1. I get a lot of pleasure from helping good writers where and when I can. The best way to get noticed as an author is by word of mouth (or word of social media!) so it is helpful when authors ‘do their bit’ and spread the word, not just for their own posts when taking part in blog hops or Story Songs, but for as many of the other participants as well. To share links, post on Facebook, Twitter etc is the best way to say ‘thank you’!
    so Thank You Anna, (and Alison)

  2. Helen Hollick is the most generous supporter of other authors, and this is just one example of how kindly and effectively she nurtures other writers. But don’t just read the stories in the blog hop – if you haven’t yet read Helen’s books, get stuck in! Her historical novels are among my very discerning mum’s favourites, and I adore her pirate series but be warned – they are addictive!

  3. Helen is a tireless supporter of other authors and she works incredibly hard (I think you must be right about the mushrooms, Anna!). I’ve taken part in many of her blog hops and the Story Behind the Song idea is a winner. I’ve really enjoyed taking part, reading the other stories and spreading the word.

  4. Helen put in so much work – much appreciated! I really enjoyed taking part and I missed reading the story of the day when the project was over. My track rceord on guessing the song was abysmal :) Great variety of stories and I did discover some new authors – and bought some books!

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