Colourful and imaginative with a positive message about being different…
I don’t think I’ve read a book quite like this one. ‘Moojag and the Auitcode Secret’ is a uniquely colourful blend of fantasy world meets the real subject of neurodivergence and represents it with a positive message about being different and that it’s okay to be just that. The style in which N.E. McMorran tells this story fits nicely between that of Lewis Carroll and Roald Dahl while it is targeted to a younger audience but those with more adult eyes will enjoy this one too.
The story comes first as we are introduced to this near future ‘Real World’ and three friends who quickly meets a mysterious character known as ‘Moojag’. Together they embark on an epic journey of discovery while realising there is a coming threat to the land in which they live. This quest takes them below ground to a place known as ‘Gajoomdoom’ – there are some new creative words here which is all part of the fun and the sweet colourful immersion. Throughout we gradually learn a subtle but important message, that being a positive definition of those who are neurodivergent. This makes for a wonderful lesson to readers about the awareness of autism and that some of us can be little different.
The pages seem to fly by and there even some great illustrations as these friends must find a way to rescue an important group who are held captive in this underground and sometimes sinister world. From football matches to castles and everything in between; it’s fun, uniquely random, highly imaginative and carries not just an important message, but a brave one about acceptance. Those who are able to combine immersive story telling with a message like this story has deserves every ounce of credit for the work they have done.
5 Stars – an unexpected but wonderful read that celebrates being different!
The sheer will to never give up has it’s rewards and as an author good things can happen if you support the industry and trust your own instincts as a story teller. That sort of shit people will embrace and unconditionally follow. And then there is old lady luck, she’s had a way in the past of turning up unexpectedly for me, that is while being mostly absent my whole life.
I’m not really a believer in her, because deep down in my heart of hearts I believe we can engineer our own destiny. We can dedicate ourselves to turning that tide to our own advantage through mainly hard work and sheer will. You can out chance the odds, you can out fate destiny and you sure as hell can out fortune that thing called luck.
Momentum is something I have a lot of right now and I’m wondering when it will be snuffed out. I’m weary of stuff like that because even though I’m the first to shout my achievements to the world, I’ve never really achieved much or even won anything in life. Perhaps like my father famously said, if you work hard enough you’ll have your day. Well maybe mine beckons…
This is just a little reflective piece acknowledging how things seem to be going from strength to strength at the moment for me. My social media is skyrocketing, this blog is growing and my author efforts are on the cusp of something bigger – I hope. Bookbub is what beckons…but no matter what, things are better than yesterday…
The promoting of books is a struggle most of us writer folks know. Just where does one start with book marketing? Through many years of trial, error and the sheer will to figure things out I’ve managed to learn a lot about selling books. I will always do my best to pass that on to others so perhaps they can benefit from hopefully something I’ve learned. The self help guide book is coming this year but until then…
This is how I landed another featured deal with Bookbub…
In this post I’ll explore how I positioned myself for success plus the who’s and how’s of everything to do with Bookbub who gave me, a small time, underdog of an indie author the greenlight again…
Who are Bookbub?
Bookbub is book discovery service that boasts up to 15 million users online and they are considered a top shelf promotional site that connects readers with books. Many authors have boasted great returns from actual profits to long term sales, reviews and success – this includes me. Once upon a time back in 2019 I managed to secure a featured deal with them that resulted then in my best day of sales ever. For beginners a good way of marketing yourself online is to use book promotion sites – check out my resources section for more. Bookbub are basically the high end version of any other book promotion site out there. They are a paid service but I consider any promotional method that charges an investment much like books.
Top Tip: Authors can create a profile on Bookbub and list their works. Some might even be listed on there already. You can also review and rate other authors books too. I recommend doing that to build up a profile on the site.
What is a Bookbub Featured Deal
The site offers a range of advertising services but their Featured Deal is the holy grail of advertising. Authors who do get accepted are in essence paying for wider specific reach through targeted email lists. As you can read below they make it seem awfully hard to be accepted and it is trust me.
For me this time around Bookbub agreed to feature my super hero comedy ‘The Teleporter’ again but with a few differences. The US market was now included unlike last time and the book would be free as opposed to discounted. And now I have a backlist of 6 books – more about that further down.
Top tip: I’ve said before my best advice when it comes to book selling is to write another. Having more than one title available as an author will galvanise your brand and increase the likelihood of selling more while finding a readership.
How did I land a Featured Deal, again?
For some years I have been near enough constantly applying to have them feature one of my titles. Although Bookbub say they support indie authors – they only take on books of the highest quality and books that they know will sell. Yes there are indie books that fit this bill but they are strict with who they choose. Some authors have even boasted to have over 50 reviews and awards just to get accepted. Recently I’ve even seen Stephen King’s work featured with them so it’s kind of a big deal!
So you might be asking at this point what the hell am I doing getting chosen by them? Well friends, Bookbub obviously see something in my scrappy underdog of a book.
You can read my account of how I secured a deal with them last time but now things are far more improved and so I guess that’s why they said yes. There are several factors that led to them agreeing and so they are laid out below but timing and niche are probably big driving factors – The Teleporter is in the humour category – something more specialist compared to a crime thriller or another popular genre. Sometimes things just align but there are ways to position one’s self as an author to get noticed…
Top tip: Writing a book that has a specialist or niche genre may be difficult to market across a mainstream following but it also makes for an opportunity when big time advertisers need a particular gap to fill. Niche will make that writing of yours stand out…
Positioning Factors for Success – Why they chose me?
There probably isn’t just one reason why Bookbub said yes, luck might have played a part but here are some other factors that helped me position myself in their sights…
Apply: Okay this is a simple factor but applying for a featured deal sparked this whole thing to life. This probably led to Bookbub doing a little research on me.
Social Media Game: Over the past 6 months I have ramped up my social media game. What exactly do I mean by that? Well I’ve made every effort to create engaging content across my platforms and specifically twitter, look it’s a pandemic okay and I’m bored most of the time so I took that as an opportunity… Very recently my engagement rate has been through the damn roof on the tweet machine (look at the numbers on the tweets pictured below). Anyone who considers you in the publication and literary field will do their research and so recent tweets of mine have been getting a lot of attention and engagement. My following is on target for 6k followers, I only reached 5k back in December. That engagement has come mainly from the writing community so you could even say this opportunity was created by them!
Shout about it: Although this is linked to my social media game, every recent success I’ve had, I shared via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Be proud of those reviews, sales, and anything else you achieve. It inspires others and shows you are the person to follow.
Recent Book Salesequals visibility: Quite recently something wonderful appears to be unfolding. In the month of January which is notoriously slow for sales, I’ve been selling books! This pushes those books up the charts in Amazon – something Bookbub will look at.
Recent Reviews for other works: Although it’s felt like forever since I received my last Amazon review very recently a few came in for both ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ and ‘Cemetery House’ thus proving people are reading my stuff.
I support the industry: You may have read from my recent posts about Changing the Culture when it comes to book reviews by authors. It is my opinion that authors don’t review enough books and so that’s what I do a lot of to support the industry – supporting the industry gets you noticed.
There’s a history: Somehow Bookbub said yes to featuring the Teleporter once before. Having that history is a rapport that basically kept my foot in the door.
There are also some more physical factors as to why The Teleporter was chosen…
Physical factors for success
Cover art and banner game: Undoubtedly the cover for ‘The Teleporter’ is an exceptional work of art. I have Design for Writers to thank for that and of course bolstered by a nice book banner makes the whole thing look professional and appealing. A pro book cover is worth the investment and something I consider part of the basic anatomy of a book…
A decent rating on Amazon and Goodreads: Bookbub will of course have done their research and ‘The Teleporter’ has a healthy amount of recent and older reviews/ratings spanning back to it’s publication in 2018.
On Amazon US the book currently has 21 reviews/rating with an overall 3.9 star average
On Amazon UK the book has 24 reviews/ratings with an overall 4.1 star average.
Over on Goodreads it’s my 2nd highest rated book with 36 ratings and an average rating of 4.03 stars.
A few ratings on Bookbub: Mainly through my various author social media connections, a few nice folks have left reviews for the Teleporter on Bookbub.
Leaving my own ratings on Bookbub: If I have reviewed your work and if it’s listed on Bookbub then there’s a high chance I have left a rating on there. This probably contributed in some way.
A consistently growing backlist: Since 2016 I have released 6 books. This shows consistency and dedication while any reader including those who use Bookbub are more likely to choose an author who has more works – this further makes my point on the best marketing advice I can give authors – have a backlist so if readers like one of your works they’ll invest in another.
Not giving up: Okay calling my sheer will to carry on a physical attribute might be a stretch but on this author road you have to keep going and keep trying no matter what. I have submitted to Bookbub several times over the years and only twice have they said yes. Keep going, you never know when things will align.
So I’ve laid out all the possible reasons as to why they chose my book but what about yours?
Factors to consider
Now this post has probably drummed up some hope and interest for authors and why not because if I can do this, then you certainly can. But here are some things to consider if you are an author thinking of submitting your work to Bookbub…
Does it stand out?: The Teleporter without me probably realising is a unique book and rather niche. Is yours something that sticks out in a good way? There are millions of crime thrillers out there but only a handful of boozy super hero comedy novellas – its specialist.
Does it have the basic anatomy: The basic anatomy of a book in my eyes is probably the most important selling factor. Does your book have a professional standard cover, an enticing blurb and a unique stand out title? Is the editing the best it can be? If your book has those things and nothing else, you my friend are on the right path. Someone will eventually like your work if it has the basic anatomy.
The price: It’s going to cost me north of $250 for this featured deal. Make sure you’ve got the cash.
Do you have a backlist: One of the biggest outcomes of a Bookbub featured deal is what happens afterwards. Normally the author being featured will shoot up the rankings on Amazon and be visible to newer eyes so it’s vital you take advantage of that and the best way to do so is having a backlist readily available. This time around all of my other titles will be discounted on the day and ready for maximum sales. If you don’t have a backlist to sell then this might not be worthwhile.
Top Tip: When running a promo for your book if you have others, discount them during the promo and it’ll drive some sales.
I say go for it: Trust me when I say you never know unless you try. So any author out there who has doubts about their work being good enough – that was me and still is. Somehow I managed to engineer lightning striking twice so go for it!
When I casually checked my emails on a weekday evening after dinner I was shocked to see Bookbub said yes to my application but also big time excited because a Featured Deal is a big deal and will hopefully lead to me climbing another level in the realms of authoring, we’ll see and above all I will be ready!
He’s in deep with the big fishes and the odds are hardly in his favour…
Artificial Intelligence genius Arnold Gold seems to get himself in an increasing amount of trouble as his journey unfolds in a thrilling story of dramatic deception. For someone who just wants to make it with the fairer sex he sure does pay the price long after resorting to pay for such an experience which in turn leads to the barrel of a loaded gun and the rabbit hole of threat that envelops his life.
It’s part ‘True Romance’ part ‘Loser’ as our young hero has this way of tripping into a situation after an encounter with Las Vegas escort ‘Breeze’ who becomes the gateway to Gold’s deep trouble. While their time together is intimately relayed there’s always this feeling of some level of threat bubbling just under the surface. We learn that his success in the betting world is aided by the fact he’s a computer prodigy who surfs the Darknet which then in turn attracts less desirable types who want to exploit it soon piling on the pressure – eventually it seems everyone is after him, including the law. Perhaps Gold’s one and only pinnacle flaw is his uncanny inability to help himself or even refuse help – frustrating and immersive at the same time for readers and his legal counsel.
“fate had trapped him in a vise of opposing forces, slowly squeezing him to death. His only hope – at least as far as he could see was to stay on point and play the game…”
Allen Wyler has put together a strong story that I found to be both addictive and easy to read. On the fringes of crime or revenge thriller with some espionage themes it makes for a gripping read. Just how will Arnold Gold play himself out of this trouble? That’s question which will eventually be answered, the odds, deadly at best.
What a week this is shaping up to be. I mean is this the run up to the final episode of 2020? We’ve got lockdowns announced left right and centre along with an election across the pond. It’s felt like one hell of a long slog to get here with March literally being three years ago, or so it seems…
While in an ideal world it’s fun to compare this present reality to one of our favourite or not so favourite shows (Game of Thrones, cough, cough…), in real life there isn’t the luxury of fading to black and rolling to the credits, or blaming the writers who secured a gig with Star Wars just before they started production of the final season…
Over here in the UK – or specifically England, we’re about to face a second lockdown. Having been there before and because so many of this blog’s…
Things are better than yesterday. As an author and creator that’s all I can hope for. Better results than yesterday fuelled by the desire to carry on. The whole ‘keep going’ thing is ingrained on my philosophy and hasn’t ever let me down. I said last week that this is going to be a brutal year and it is, but there is hope to found even in dark times.
When someone asks me how it’s going. The sales, the blog views the whole authoring and blogging social media deal – I simply tell them it’s better than it was, better than yesterday and it is. From selling a couple of books a month to selling one every ten days to now selling more than one every four days. I’ve trialled and errored my way into figuring out book marketing, social media marketing and knowing when to swoop in and convince a person to buy into me. Timing and time is the above all attribute that I hold responsible for all of my success, that is with the sheer will to keep going put to one side.
All of those successful moments and trials and errors I have meticulously laid out in a self help guide book that I am going to be looking to publish this side of the year. While I edit and continually add to it, my uncertainty rears it’s ugly head every now and then. Will anyone benefit from this rather broad explanation of how I got to here? Does anything in this project matter? That imposter syndrome – something I refuse to believe in is perhaps creeping in. I have always cared what people think of my stuff. I’m going to begin searching for some much needed second opinions soon. BETA readers need apply here. I’m gonna need your level headed thoughts to get through this..
A tale full of twisting suspense about those on the fringes of society…
Kristina Gallo delivers a thriller full of page turning intrigue with shades of a sinister soap opera. It’s gritty and raw and we are introduced to civil servant ‘Viktorija’ who finds herself linked to some less than desirable characters while being on the receiving end of abusive threats. After all she is the deciding factor on whether or not migrants to her native Zagreb are given asylum, a status many would do anything for. ‘Jamal’ just happens to be one of those successful candidates and although he is a husband, father and provider, he is also unfaithful but of course like many of Gallo’s stories this is the just the tip of the iceberg. An affair between these two characters paves the way for murderous implications while we meet a host of characters all on the fringes of an underworld ruled by deception and crime. We meet the trodden down wife, the determined law woman and even a disgruntled ex lover all of which could be behind a pair of murders.
“The underground world was cruel. One day you could be an attractive woman with expensive clothes and powerful men were around you. The next day, the forensic team could be examining your corpse…”
Just who is carrying out these murders and who is behind the threats? The guessing game will keep your interest until the dramatic end by way of twists and turns that make for an immersive experience. I’ll admit it only took a few sessions to finish reading this book as it gripped me about halfway through.
4 Stars– another good addition to Kristina Gallo’s growing backlist of thrillers.
A gripping tale of magic and sorcery with an important message…
From the very start of this story I found myself immersed into an original and intricately crafted world of sorcery that is both full of action and intrigue. Jimena Novaro has written a book that also captures and reflects on modern times with a distinct rich and poor divide in the setting of ‘Port Monica’.
We are introduced to main character and hero ‘Orion Tamura’ who is perhaps the only powerful sorcerer left in town. By day he’s a regular school kid from a not so privileged family that includes two younger siblings and a mother to look out for. By night he is joined by best friend ‘Max’ and together they fight demons – there are a host of creative, fun and chilling creatures they face off throughout the story. On the surface their relationship appears to be…
That universal existential struggle for book reviews has a culture within that I aspire to change. Not by activism or even force – I grew out of shouting about things in my twenties but it appears most authors shine their light forwards into the murk without realising what they could carry on their backs to aid that journey.
I’ve blogged recently about ‘Changing the Culture’ and that Culture simply put is fostered by an indirect unawareness many authors have when it comes to giving out reviews. While many get too caught up trying to get reviews there aren’t enough authors that realise giving them will eventually provide reward to their own efforts. To be successful in any industry you have to give and contribute towards it so the next time you feel that struggle for reviews, ask yourself when was the last time I contributed? Me – I base my whole presence as an author on supporting others and specifically reviewing their work is an effective way to show that.
I’m pretty sure if every indie author reviewed 5 or so books a year, that universal existential struggle would be filled in part. It’s commonly known by authors that many readers just don’t think to leave a review of a book and it can be so frustrating. These regular folk are never ever going to know how important reviews are to us creators, especially indies. So my thinking is maybe the creators need to do something about it. You can sing from the hills for readers to leave a review but they just won’t hear, so that song needs to be concentrated towards the writing community – people who know and supposedly love books should be putting in way more energy to supporting them and not just their own. As I said this isn’t an attempt at activism or even my version of being controversial, it just baffles me seeing authors complain when they haven’t reviewed someone else’s work and then wonder why nobody is reviewing theirs.
My up coming self help book is going to carry that message – leaving reviews for other authors works is the best way you can grow your presence online and come across as genuine to the point where it will market you and marketing yourself is way more important than marketing just one book. That whole change the culture thing is just one of the many themes I look to carry with this guide book while more importantly helping those in the arena. You’ll hear much more about it soon. This blog and my authoring career took a huge turn when I started reviewing books regularly back in 2018 and I haven’t looked back since. Views, follows, book sales and of course reviews have all increased since then.
So writers, many books have you reviewed recently?