Day 3: The 30-Day Book Launch Challenge

DAY 3. Book Blurbs, Website and a New Pen Name

Reminder – here is my to-do list for this week.
w/c 20th November. What has to be done by the end of this week?

• Book 2 outlined using 4 act structure and 16 sequences.
• Work started writing ideas for dialogue and scenes.
• Use timed writing sessions to write notes for characters and scenes.

• Create a book description drafted based on story idea at this stage. Focus on the tone and voice of the book and the key plotline.

Website and Social Media Platform
• Sophie Brent website must be done this week. SIMPLE SITE. All aimed at readers. Use the draft book cover ideas to illustrate home page.
• Goal? All about the books and where readers can find them.
• Decision – no blog posts on this site.
• Blog posts and social media go through Nina Harrington.

List Building and Email Marketing
• Start sharing 30 Day Challenge with other writers through blog posts and to subscribers.
• Read at least one similar cozy mystery and write review post. Use an affiliate link to the book.
• Look at KingSumo to run a giveaway in December.


Why bother writing a book description at this point?
I find that the process of writing out the story in a few sentences really helps me to focus on the key story elements, and that magical ‘hook’ that will appeal to readers browsing an online book store.

Here is my first draft for Murder and Merlot:

Book 2 in the NEW Kingsmede Cozy Murder Mystery series!

“This book will delight fans of TV shows like ‘Midsomer Murders’ and ‘Murder She Wrote’ who love reading cozy mysteries such as the Agatha Raisin and Peridale Café series.”
The annual Kingsmede Wine Festival is a major event in the local calendar. No one is looking forward to it more than Lottie Brannigan who is providing the catering for the award ceremony. This is the perfect opportunity for her to promote the delicous food she serves at the Italian deli she inherited from her late father.
But when the winning wine maker dies from a severe peanut allergy after eating her food, Lottie gets the blame for the death. Someone deliberately tampered with his canapes. Suddenly the future of her deli takes second place to a murder investigation.
Book 2 in the Kingsmede Mystery series!
A standalone witty cozy mystery in an English country village with a deli owning female amateur sleuth. No cliffhangers, swearing, intimate or graphic scenes.

Website and Social Media Platform

My new pen name for writing cozy mysteries is Sophie Brent.
I find it easier to register a new domain name and hosting with the same company – it makes building the website a lot simpler and faster. Billing is easier too.

Domain Name
One of the reasons I selected this name from my shortlist was that the domain name was available, so I bought Sophie from
Cost = £17.97, including ID protection for the next 12 months.

Website Hosting and Platform

I have paid for website hosting for my own website for several years now, so I am familiar with the process.
I know that I want a very simple website for Sophie Brent with only a few pages, so I went for a shared hosting package from
Total Combined Cost of New Domain Name and Website Hosting for 12 months = £31.46, including 20% VAT here in the UK.

If you are not sure how to build your own website there are some great tutorial videos on YouTube, and I have a blogpost with all of the key steps – except I did not use BlueHost for this particular site.


WordPress Theme.

Once I have the domain name and hosting sorted out, then I needed to load the self-hosted version of WordPress onto my site to create the content management system.

To do this, I followed the instructions on the hosting company website and the basic site was up and running in under an hour.

The hardest part is sorting out an email if you want one – such as which looks more professional that a googlemail email address. I opted to forward all of the emails to my Nina Harrington email address so that I can read all of the emails in one place.

Then the fun starts! Selecting a WordPress theme which fits your work, then customising it to create a website to match your work and style.

There are 100s of free WordPress themes to chose from, or you can buy a premium theme if it is a perfect fit for how you want your site to look.
Because I wanted a simple, one page theme, which focuses on the books, I went for the free Flash theme by ThemeGrill.

It is very easy to use, with drag and drop placements for any content that you want to add. This theme comes with a slider header, but I changed that to a static image so that it is quicker to load and less distracting.

By using the page builder feature and only using a static home page, you can create a row with image blocks to hold the book covers.
Today I have spent a couple of hours playing with images on stock image photo sites such as Shutterstock and iStock Photo, until I came up with a simple illustration for a lady detective which I think is a good fit. I bought the Jpeg image for a few dollars.

The header image for this wordpress theme has to be 1920 x700 pixels, so I created a custom size banner using, and then experimented with fonts and colours until I had something which worked. If you are not using it already, Canva is an amazing free graphic design software which I use for book covers and social media graphics, using their free templates.

The first pass website has some placeholder images and text, and none of the links work etc., but I think the basic design could work as a starting point.

The book cover images are working drafts at this point.

You can take a look at the site in progress here:

And that’s it for this week!

Have a great weekend. Nina

PS.  CLICK HERE to find out more about How to Write a Cozy Mystery.