6 Years of Blogging – Here’s what I learned…

The road of life is long and so is the journey this blog has seemingly endured. Has it really been 6 years since I plunged into the world of blogging? Time has a way of slipping before our fingers when we’re busy and having fun, perhaps those two things are the main staples of how all of this is held together. That is along with the revelation that over time has convinced me most people are decent but those who follow this outfit are exceptional. 

What have I learned in 6 years of blogging? Probably enough to fill a self help book and well that may eventually appear on the horizon, I’ll give you an insight because for my followers, it’s the least I can do. These are the pillars that hold up the Hall of Information…  

hall of information

Choose a name that stands out…

Let’s face it, Lee’s Hall of Information is a gimmick style name and back when I started out, gimmick style names for blogs were all the rage. You don’t see it as much these days but I’ve embraced my not so serious blog name. It’s a play on words with my real name and it’s fun.

All the right people can make all the difference in the world

This blog has picked up the support of some awesome people over the years. People who see your vision like you do are important and if you work hard enough they will eventually find you trust me…

Support others like you wish to be supported

This one’s in red because it might be the most important pillar that holds up the Hall of Information and my entire ethos in life (or at least on here anyway). Commenting or liking another blogger’s post will most likely make their day and give just a little justification or satisfaction for their efforts. A few years ago I had the epiphany that basically sealed that ethos when I began to review Indie books. Pretty much as soon as that first review dropped the traffic to this site rocketed, which leads to the next thing…

Offer something that people need 

We’re using green because again it’s important and possibly the code breaking formula in all success everywhere. If you can offer something that people need, they will grab it. Sales people use that tactic to fling whatever they are flinging and I used it in more of a supporting way by reaching out to the wider writing community and offering to read and review their work – I did this to support others like I wished to be supported and it resulted in connecting with so many awesome people, some I even consider my friend plus it led to an often overlooked factor in blogging…

Regular Content is King

Because I have so many indie books on my list and I am always reading (I need to read to get better at writing) there will forever be a constant stream of content (book reviews) being churned out by the Hall of Information. The internet moves quickly and if you don’t put stuff out regularly then you will get forgotten. Being consistent in blogging will eventually get results, trust me. This is also relevant advice to whatever you blog about not just books…

Diverse content is King also… 

Unless you’re a book reading machine, and trust me there are a few bloggers who are, you’re going to need a range of content that extends towards the main stream. Trust me when I say some of my most viewed posts are nothing to do with books or writing. This review for DDP Yoga gets reads nearly every week and this post about wrestling often gets looked at. Neither of them are my core content subjects but they draw in views from outside that bubble.

It takes time

No matter how good you are to begin with or what you offer to readers this whole deal takes time to build. I started at zero and spent years not really knowing why 2 people read my latest post but eventually things grow if you keep going…

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Share your feelings

It’s okay to vent, it’s okay to complain, it’s okay to be honest and express your feelings in what ever fashion you like. It’s your blog and your world first and foremost. I’ve shared many a grievance on here, one particular grievance about a 1 star review of The Teleporter led to a huge response from the writing community.

Look up to fellow bloggers

There are a stack of wonderful bloggers out there whom I look up to. Don’t be an island, reach out to them, connect and share ideas. Be there when they release new content even if you just drive by with a like for a post and read it later. This is a people thing, be part of it… some of those awesome bloggers you can find here.  The blogger who inspired me to do this started out in self publishing and has recently had one of her books optioned for a movie!

Enjoy it, embrace it and go for it

When I look back at those early days when I first put together the Hall of Information title on a background of dark red and an image of books on a shelf, I never imagined those books by other people would eventually be swapped out for my own.

The reviews and content I put out serves a purpose and people have recently used the word respect when they hold me in regard – this is worth more than probably anything else I could ever imagine as success.

That first post simply titled ‘Pilot’ led to where I stand today, pecking away at the keyboard, chasing the words, keeping things going, supporting others and hoping not just my work is a success but that others are too. Writing, reading and blogging is home to me no matter where I hang my hat.

We’ll get there someday and the Hall of Information continues forth into the world of words and beyond. I like that word, beyond, it makes this feel like it could lead anywhere, maybe it will…

To everyone who has ever followed, read and supported this blog, thank you. See ya in the next one! Rock and roll man!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Headed Book Lover – How I Beat a Scammer — Damien Linnane

Today’s post is another re-blog but a very important one from fellow author Damien Linnane who has generously shared his experience of how he beat a very well known scammer in the world of book reviews.

As some of you will know I have shared my experience with the same ‘reviewer’ and it’s so important as authors and creators we work together in sharing our experiences for the greater good of the writing community! Check it out below… 

 

It was January 2020. My novel had been released for less than two months. I was busy juggling my day job, my master’s degree, running a small business and preparing for an art exhibition. I knew I should have been doing more work to promote my novel, but I really didn’t have the time. And […]

via Red Headed Book Lover – How I Beat a Scammer — Damien Linnane

Review: The Teleporter by Lee Hall — S.D. McKinley – thoughts from an indie author

Shout out to fellow author S.D McKinley for this awesome review of the Teleporter. Make sure you visit his blog and give it a follow!

Summary: ( Extracted from Amazon ) What if there was a power like no other? What if one drunken slouch happened to stumble where nobody has stumbled before and discovered the ability to teleport!Just when you thought there were enough super hero stories in this world, we made another one…Kurt Wiseman is your average mid-twenties […]

via Review: The Teleporter by Lee Hall — S.D. McKinley – thoughts from an indie author

‘The Player Without Luck’ by Kristina Gallo – Review

A thrilling page turning story that will keep you immersed from the start….

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English isn’t Kristina Gallo’s native language but that is certainly no disadvantage as she tells an immersive dramatic tale of the unexpected that grabs you from the start.

We’re thrown into the seedy world of gambling where main character ‘Silvija’ loves to spend her time and money. With her focus on trying to win she suddenly discovers a body and that’s when the journey of twists, turns and a sinister history begins. To the police she might just be that ‘blonde chick’ but soon enough the revelations come and she just happens to be linked.

Those revelations intertwine through a story that switches back and forth in time with a pacy page turning style and for a shorter read the author manages to include multiple themes from mystery, thriller, tension, deception and even with some erotic tones. There’s a lot going on in a short space of time giving readers a sense of urgency to read it all the way through because as soon as you start this book, you’ll want to read the whole thing.

4 – Stars, the newest read from Kristina Gallo makes for a great escape! 

‘The Dreamophile’s Diary’ by Shazrina – Review

A descriptive collection of tales that capture the very essence of dreams from surrealism to their deeper metaphoric meaning…

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Every one of the short stories in this collection represents an immersive journey and explores what’s there and what could be there. It’s rather unique in the sense that author Shazrina has captured a realistic account of what dreams are like using description and metaphor with a wide range of theme. One story see’s a tension filled chase during a stormy night while another explores the deeper meaning of life itself but the writing style always keeps the reader and events moving.

There are lessons and morale in each tale that focuses on a particular moment and the moment is what links them all, they cover a lot of different subjects

like facing your fears, being grateful for the life you lead, right and wrong, regret, family, the apocalypse and even the exploration of being a god along with a touching piece about the authors passion for writing which made for a strong ending.

Like the dreams we have most of the experiences in this book lean towards the surreal or even strange and it makes for some great reading that on the surface appears to be about nothing but underneath and through the mode of descriptive writing specific to each tale there is a lot happening. To me that’s the beauty of dreams and it’s relayed in this book. You can really feel the reflective element that the author channels into the words and dream worlds created and visited by characters who are looking for something in life.

‘Life is strange indeed, sometimes what you most desire becomes futile for you the very next moment’

For anyone looking to pick up something that is immersive and descriptive with an element of surrealism this is the book for you. There’s tension and mystery all blended with uniqueness from start to finish. Different but in a good sense.

4 Stars – Review originally premiered via Reedsy Discovery 

Book Promotion Results – July 2020

The results are in! Let’s take a look at my most recent book promotion efforts and analyse what went well and what didn’t. Here we go…

Sell Tickets

This has no relevance to my results, it’s just colourful…

Slight Preamble…

Seeing as this year kind of took a dive in March, some will even argue it ended there. I decided to take what was happening in my stride and carry on. Carrying on might be the single best decision I have made in all of my blogging, writing and general being online endeavours. Trust me, and it was really tough to begin with. The numbers for this blog, my sales and overall results were dwindling for a little while until I dug deep, thought of a few new ways to continue producing content and kablamo, things are looking good, in fact they are real good, I’m talking best ever numbers kind of good.

I do truly feel for the many folks out there who have been stopped in their tracks from what’s currently going on (we don’t dignify these times with a name) but for me and without realizing this whole deal has kind of fallen into my hands with an opportunity that I have seized. For anyone struggling right now who is able to produce some kind of content, I would highly advise you do so, this world has changed and probably won’t be going back to ‘normality’ possibly for a while. More people seem to read my blog these days than my books, which is cool but we’re here to talk about my books…

The planning…

Seeing as I have five of them (books not kids, I hope…), I have content that is readily available right now for people to access. This year I have stuck to my guns in trying to do all I can to promote Darke Blood, the series it’s a part of and the sequel which drops next month. Having that wider back list gives me the options to change things around and promote another work, that work being The Teleporter – a stand alone, novella length comedy book about super heroes with a political edge – it’s current, relevant and relatable. Seeing as Marvel is mainstream these days having a super hero tale is quite handy – and trust me people grab this book when they see it probably more than any others (of mine).

So I decided I wanted to get 2 things out of promoting the Teleporter this time around:

(this is important in book promotion, you need to decide what you want to get out of it, then you can manage expectations/disappointment levels after…)

1.First and foremost I wanted as many people to grab it while it was free for one day.

2. I wanted actual paid sales after the promo date to drive the books chart position upwards and get some new eyes on the product It will be discounted to 99 cents and this wasn’t just a ploy to turn a profit, what’s a profit in writing?

The booking

So this would involve fighting the promotion battle on 2 fronts but with mainly the same process – book promo sites.

For those who don’t know book promotion sites offer advertisement for a fee, some are free. They have access to big mailing lists and distribution methods to get your work seen. Considering this isn’t my first rodeo, I have compiled a list of trust worthy, reputable sites who can help. Using a bunch of different sites at the same time is quite a useful method.

For this promotion I would split the promo sites between advertising on the one free day and the next few days where it was discounted.

The Teleporter would be free to download on Wednesday 22nd of July and then discounted for 3 days after at 99 cents. 

Here are the sites I used for the 22nd Free Promo:

E Reader News Today – (humor promotion) Cost $40 

Bookrunes – Free Promotion – Cost $40

Indie Book of the Day – Cost Free

Book Goodies – Cost $9

Bookwerm – Cost $5

Book of the Day Dot Org – Free

ebook booster – Cost $20 – placements on up to 15 other sites

Sites I used to promote The Teleporter at 99 cents discount (23rd and 24th) 

Armadillo Ebooks – Cost $25 – both dates

Prettyhot – (Featured listing) – Cost $25 – 23rd only

Discount book man – Cost $10 – 24th only 

Bookbongo – (bookblast) – Cost $20 – 23rd and 24th 

Bookdoggy – Free

The Preparation

So the promo sites were booked and now I needed to prepare my other promo methods. In the past I had explored the option of book banners – a poster that just doesn’t show the cover but acts as a kind of billboard. Seeing as Fiverr offers this kind of thing I got one put together for the Teleporter.

The Teleporter promo banner

Generally people tend to click on the link more when they see something other than just a book cover. And it didn’t cost much, there are loads of different merchants on Fiverr who do this sort of thing at a very reasonable price.

This time around I would focus more on the days after the free promotion and kept my tweeting and general social media lips sealed until then.

On the discounted days I tweeted to my 3000+ followers and put up a post on my Facebook page to 500 followers and I even put together a blog post on here for my 500 plus following.

The Results…

So how did it go? How much do I hate myself this time? I can honestly say it went rather okay to good, so not that much self hate…

Here are the results for the Free downloads on the 22nd with slight overlap on the 23rd

teleporter free download results 20202

downloads

Overall this was the best ever day for The Telporter in terms of free downloads and the 3rd best of all time in all free promos I have done. Not bad at all.

I didn’t track the chart position that much on the Free day but it was #5 in one of it’s charts. Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein was #1 at the time… I very much enjoy it when my book is in the same picture as something so highly regarded! Darke Blood did once go above a Dean Koontz book – my only claim to fame thus far…mary shelly

 

And now let’s look at the results for the days after the Free promo when it went to 99 cents…

teleporter discount results

On the day after the free promo, 20 good folks downloaded the Teleporter while it was discounted. The next day we had 1 download and then on the third and final day we had 4. Someone else downloaded it at full price a few days after that also.

I didn’t properly track chart positions but it did climb higher than usual but got nowhere near single digit positions.

20 downloads in one day for any of my books is a win and this year’s best day of sales and my 2nd best day of all time. The 1st being last July with the same book but boosted by a Bookbub featured deal.

I can probably expect a few new reviews soon.

What went well?

The whole thing went well in my eyes but here are the factors that helped.

1.July, something about this month in the past two years has been really good for book promotion and this blog in general. July 2019 holds the record for most blog views ever and in 2nd place is July 2020 – beach read season I reckon…

stoner on a rollercoaster

2. The day after the Free promotion a fellow blogger and friend of the Hall of Information, Stoner on a Roller Coaster re blogged my post about the promo – this helped massively so thank you! Many more good folks shared and retweeted things on Twitter – so thanks for that also!

3. The Teleporter is an established book and my 2nd most reviewed on Goodreads. It also has a good bunch of international reviews on Amazon. This helps big time.

4. I have a back list. Books sell easier when the author has more than one. People grab a book with hopes they like it and then will explore other titles if they do.

5. Fellow authors looking to give back – those whom I have connected with over the years and especially those who have books I reviewed sometimes feel inclined to return that favor, having one of my books available for free pushes that a little further – not that I expect anyone to buy my book in return for anything but it is very much appreciated.

6. The current state of affairs in this world: People need content, people are getting into reading more, e books are safe and are a low risk form of entertainment. Hence the opportunity arises.

 

Anything to improve? 

Book promotion is led mainly by the following and voice of an author. If that voice is louder, more people hear. I’m always trying to improve that volume (following) and of course there are few things that could have gone better.

I did try to get a bookbub featured deal but to no success this time. Maybe I could have explored Facebook advertising but I didn’t bother this time around.

All in all this promo run went rather well. I have on final book promo run planned before the release of Darke Awakening in late September. Stay tuned and thanks for reading! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Writing Inspiration #4

It’s been a while since I did one of these. The truth is, I’ve been busy being busy…

In between interviewing fellow creatives, reviewing books, celebrating 6 years of blogging among other stuff I haven’t had time to share memes and writing things so here’s a feature length dose of weekly writing inspiration… hello new followers; thanks for the support!

* The disclaimer is not all of these are writing related or even memes… 

I’m 31 on Tuesday, these are my thoughts… 

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Gary has no chill, we all know someone like that…

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The cake really isn’t a lie… (and wear a face covering if you go anywhere public and indoors!)

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I don’t think Samsung’s ‘Atomic Bell’ alarm clock jingle will be appearing on the radio soon, but I can still relate… 

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Promoting new authors and their awesome works. Check out this one from Eleanor DeSouza

Not what I was expecting

 

the 80s

Aliens is easily in my top 10 awesome films of all time… ‘Alright sweethearts…’ 

Not a meme but a very important read for anyone in the author world. Check out the rest of the post by Damien Linnane here

Red Headed Scammer

 

Time flies when your reading books… Wanna know what I learned along the way?here’s a post about that…

achievement

Futurama has appeared back on my viewing sights as of recent and it’s worth a watch just for the comedy value – laughter = good feelings… plus Bender’s got a shiny metal ass… 

Shout out to fellow author and blogger S.D McKinley for these awesome words. Check out his blog and give it a follow! You can read my review for his book here…

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So I think I might write another play… the source material is pretty good…. 

ghost

That wraps up this weeks writing inspiration in the form of memes. Thanks for stopping by, rock and roll man!

 

‘Magpie’ by Paul Jameson – Review

A quaint wonderfully written short.. 

Magpie by [Paul Jameson]

Magpie is a quaint and wonderfully written short by Paul Jameson who immerses readers from the get go with his unique folklore style. Having read it in just one sitting this story serves as just a snippet of the authors ability to tell stories that fuses classic and modern style description and composition. Having read his other work ‘Nightjar’ this book carries the same feeling and of course just an edge of darkness so readers who enjoy one will certainly enjoy the other.

From the note at the end it’s clear to see this story found the author in some sense while he was exploring a real place which heightens the immersive element of the setting. There’s a level of mystique about near enough everything including the history of what happened in this world and our own imaginations are given the scope to follow a story the author first followed. This is a story and reading experience that I highly recommend.

5 Stars – Magpie is currently Free to download and you can grab a copy here for a very limited time.

If you interested in reading more about Paul Jameson check out a very recent Hall of Information Interview I did with the him here; it’s a must read insight!

‘Mark of a Demon’ by Despoina Kemeridou – Review

A modern feel-good fable of forbidden love and a hint of darkness

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Despoina Kemeridou returns with her unique fairy tale style voice to tell a heart warming, feel-good modern fable that explores many different themes including love, sacrifice and the value of life. We are introduced to ‘Heather’ who is born with a weak heart and so her mother bargains with demonic forces to save her but at a cost. 

That bargain will eventually come to fruition and as ‘Heather’ grows up we see her young life unfold in the authors style that keeps pages moving while also providing important plot detail – this has all the feeling and vibe that fairy tales of old contain but with a fuller feeling story that carries more of an adult theme.

To say anymore about the story would be giving spoilers and this is a book that deserves to be discovered and immersed in, even if it is a shorter read that is by no means a disadvantage. There a moments that are both heart breaking and heart warming that make up the drama that is a fun read and escape that I highly recommend.

4 Stars – A great addition to the authors repertoire. Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads.

Check out a recent Hall of Information Interview with Despoina here.  

‘Moon-Sitting’ by E.M. Harding – Review

An original and well-paced character driven sci-fi with a difference…

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E.M. Harding writes with a style that initially holds it’s cards close to the chest allowing readers imaginations to be fed an original world that views it’s moon as somewhat of an enigmatic danger. Since it’s arrival to the planet of ‘Infinity’ which brought much destruction, people are assigned to watch this threat. Main character ‘Lucky Marsh’ happens to be one of three Moon Sitters and her curiosity fuelled by nightmarish visions drives the story to unfold while answering the many questions that surround this dangerous lunar force. With a beginning that carries mystique, answers come soon enough.

I’ll happily admit I was caught entirely off guard with this book. It doesn’t take long until the twists and revelations light the path this story takes the reader on. The characters and how they interact with the world to find answers is just one of the many strengths along with original world building and originality as a whole – I haven’t read a science fiction book quite like this one.

The revelations and twists eventually form into an issue of morality and choice that ‘Lucky’ must face as well as a matter of time while readers discover her past and present which run in tandem throughout the book. Novella’s and shorter books deserve just as much credit especially when they are as good as this one. It’s different, readable and enjoyable.

4 Stars – Reviews left via Amazon UK and Goodreads