Weekly Ramble #94

It’s going to be a long and brutal year. From what has already happened all the way to the perhaps far off light on the ever further horizon it’s going to be a grind. I’ve faced many adversities in my life and survived; this year will be no different – perhaps surviving and rolling up my sleeves is all I know what to do.

You watch the news and you’ll know just what we are in for. But not all of it is bad, it’s just difficult and defining that difference much like any perspective is what will pull me through. I’ve had every type of day at the office in my life so the sequel to 2020 doesn’t scare me although every time I look at the news there’s something else to sigh deeply about. Where I am is currently locked down, the virus numbers are higher than ever, the causation most probably people not acknowledging how serious this whole deal is – the people that aren’t me.

January is traditionally a gruelling month with book sales, already somehow I can boast just a handful – something I will revel in, damn it’s hard to sell books sometimes and getting reviews, well that’s another question. That struggle is universal and never ending, the trick is not to let it get to you. A poor man doesn’t dwell on their bank balance or what he hasn’t got, he concentrates on trying to improve from zero, take that how you will but with everything going on around me, I’ll look to improve what I can by taking every victory I can no matter the size. Every single victory is going to count this year and hopefully turn the tables, eventually. Let’s hope so…

To those who have grabbed a copy of my work recently or left a review, thank you.

Weekly Ramble #93

Pick a project and start editing. That’s my motto for the start of this year and that’s what I’m currently doing. The self help guide book is shaping up and also growing in detail. Although I only drafted it back in August, that’s a long time in this world, things have moved forward, lessons have been learned in abundance and this train of authoring and blogging is not stopping.

It’s a good time to be busy and to get lost in projects because out that window, much like the last ten or so months it’s just doom and gloom. The UK is going into another ‘lockdown’ imminently and well for me nothing much changes. Work, home, work and then home. In between that reading, writing and blogging. I’m staying in, much like last year and for probably the duration. I’ve said before that lockdown equals opportunity and so that’s what I shall seize. As much as things are bad, while I’m at home, I’m safe and I take solace in that.

While this year has started in one place, twelve months is a long time and everything is still to play for….

Busy folks get things done and that’s just what I am… hope you are all keeping busy and staying safe….

The Final Ramble – 2020

Unprecedented is probably the biggest understatement to describe this year but somehow we face the end of it.

Reflecting can do strange things to one’s thoughts. The future, the now and the past all come to mind. What we’ve been through as individuals and together will shape our lives maybe for many years to come and I won’t lie, back in March even I thought this fragile society we live in could possibly collapse – it came near but not near enough because we dug our heels, stayed indoors and got through. We dealt and most of us tried to make do while others suffered. Still good folks out there are suffering and its important to think of those in need no matter what time of the year it is.

There have been so many ups and downs, it really has been a rollercoaster and not for one second do I regret carrying on with this blog, carrying on producing content and overcoming everything to publish my 6th book. I wouldn’t have met folks like you if I didn’t and not to mention the loyal folks who have seen this blog rise from absolute zero. All of you make me somebody – perhaps my dream in all of this. The rewards have formed into a hopeful and promising future, I’m still only on the first few rungs of the author ladder but I’m getting there. Armed with a dream I’ve had since the age of 12 and you guys, the loyalists who somehow see what I see, together a vision shared is one dreamed. I just made that up but it sounds pretty epic and let’s hope better days are just that.

Thank you for joining me this year, wherever you are have a safe end to 2020, be kind to yourself and others, you, they and we deserve it. Even though you’ll probably be busy over the coming weeks, I urge you to check back here on Christmas day. I’ll sign this post off with a quote I first laid down back in 2017, some thing’s don’t change, they just get better…

Calling Authors and Bloggers! – Unique Opportunity Alert!

Hello loyal followers, readers and passers by. I do hope December is treating you well. As some of you may know next year I am setting my sights on releasing a self help authoring and blogging guide book.

This project I hope, will be an inspirational and hopefully culture affirming experience designed to help those looking to get into writing/blogging and for those already on their journey. The key word here is ‘Inspirational’ and while this book will be filled with guides and help taken from my own experiences my ultimate vision is for it to inspire those who read it.

Therefore, I am calling on the wider writing community to help in the form of a unique opportunity to have your very own quote included in the book. Some of you may have seen my recent tweet, the annual tweet I put out looking for book rec’s for 2021 and this time I have included a question. You can find that tweet here; but I will happily accept any correspondents on this blog. Just leave your answer in the comments. Seeing as there are some wonderful bloggers and writers who follow this effort, I thought it best to include you by writing this post.

Here’s what I am looking for:

1. Your book or blog link.

2. One sentence of advice to someone with dreams of becoming a writer/blogger.

* If I choose your quote, I will reach out and ask you for permission to use it in the book.

Weekly Ramble #91

Looking back at my debut novel these past few days has presented a range of emotions. From cringe to admiration all the way to evolution. Like all art it captures a moment in time and also accurately relays the creators frame of mind and their ability in such a moment. It might not read as fluidly as my more recent works and I’ll admit it’s got all the usual ‘debuty’ attributes of an author figuring out their words but that story even now is solid as a rock. Back then I had that same fire I still have only now it burns brighter.

For what once stood as 6 lined pages of scratchy writing telling a story based on a dream I had way back when I was 14, Open Evening became my entrance into everything that stands today. I sometimes forget the before, we all do while striving for a better future.

Just what business do I have going back to revisit old works? This time of the year I always update the URL’s and links in all my works but this time I thought I would give Open Evening a little polish. Now when something is released into the world of publishing it kind of no longer belongs to the creator but the wonder of modern publishing allows some licence to improve existing works. Truthfully my writing style back then (2015) seems so far removed from my standard today and I guess above all that’s a wonderful sign of progress. You can trace my evolution as a story teller chronologically in all of my works which is voyage of discovery in it’s own right. These books will be around for a lot longer than me and the hope is perhaps some day someone follows that evolution as a reader. That paper trail I leave behind will hopefully represent me more than personality ever could. Maybe that’s how our legends are built.

How I got Five Thousand Tweet Machine Followers – a guide

Good things take time. Really worthwhile things take a long time and you might have seen me singing my own praises about getting five thousand twitter followers so I figured now would be a good time to reflect and pass on some helpful information.

How did I get there? Well it wasn’t easy. From deleting the app two years ago to now. I’ve had an eventful relationship with the platform I still don’t fully understand but there are some fundamental basics I implemented which will help anyone reach some level of social media success.

This post takes direct inspiration from my upcoming self help guide book which is available now for pre-order. I’ve broken this guide down into three sections which go hand in hand. The Why’s, The Basics and the Advanced Tweet Machine Methods. I will also cover some fixes for those already on Twitter who aren’t getting any engagement. Now there are plenty of folks I know who have way bigger followings than me, and that’s cool, but this guide is designed for hopefully anyone.

The Why’s

Exploring motive before anything else will ultimately give you something to aim for, much like any character in a book. Why are they there? What do they want to do? Ask yourself this: What do you want to achieve on twitter and why?

In my case, and the short answer; I am on Twitter to promote my efforts as an author and blogger while also learning from those doing the same.

The long answer; it’s a huge opportunity to connect with near enough everyone. Predominantly I sell my work online, about 95% of my book sales come from online sources so I need to be there for that. It’s also a wonderful way to find new books that I can review.

In your case, this may differ depending on what you want to achieve. Perhaps you are a blogger who specialises in photography, or someone interested in nature; there is a crowd for near enough all interests on the tweet machine. You want an audience right? And connecting with others will get you there. It’s both a social and a promotional opportunity. Use it to find your crowd – we’ll go into that with more detail below.

The Basics

From experience you need the basics for people to start following you regularly on Twitter. In order to get more followers you need engagement.

Engagement is basically having a voice that folks can easily hear. There is no overnight solution to more engagement but there are ways to increase it over time. My philosophy is and always will be this:

To give yourself the best possible chance at Twitter success you need to be honest, friendly and decent.

But that’s just conducting yourself professionally, most people are cool but what else can you do? Well, you need:

A real profile picture of yourself. Trust me other humans like to see other humans

A friendly bio that describes who you are, what you do. The more inviting, fun and friendly the better.

A pinned Tweet – a tweet you can put at the top of your profile that relays what you are currently doing in life, what’s coming soon or even a link to your book /blog/ content.

To engage with others by commenting, help, offer advice, be friendly, supportive and decent – trust me most twitter types are drawn to honesty. Engage with folks all the time.

To Follow those who follow you.

Unfollow those who no longer follow you.

Follow those who interest you.

If you follow the above basics you will find some level of success and gradual growth. All of these basics are aimed at getting more engagement or at least the right kind.

For absolute beginners I strongly suggest your tweets include relevant hashtags to what you are interested in. Introduce yourself and explore those hashtags, comment on other folks posts who use them. Be social.

Things not working – a few fixes

I have opted to put this section in here because this tutorial is designed for all and you might already be on the tweet machine and experiencing little or no growth/engagement. You need engagement for growth and growth for engagement but why are your tweets feeling invisible?

If your tweets aren’t getting much attention perhaps it’s time to consider what you are posting. Is it relevant or even interesting? Is it heavily opinionated or political? Is it ‘spicy’ or angry? Are you an author who just constantly shares the link to their own work? This is also relevant to what you are saying in the comments of other folks tweets. Regularly I see a user say something that can appear aggressive or forward – although this might not have been the intention it’s easy to be misunderstood in a tweet. I very much HATE WHEN PEOPLE CAPITALISE things or tell me what to do. The whole tough love/truth thing will annoy me also. Try and keep things light and friendly.

My tip would be to scroll back down your feed and look at the last tweet you put out which got some good engagement. Do more of that and less of the tweets that don’t get any attention. Easier said than done but it works trust me.

Things not working can also be related to consistency, if you post sporadically every few days at random times then it’s likely your audience won’t see it. Those with a lower following, you folks risk being forgotten if you don’t post regularly. Consistency is key.

Engaging with others more will also spread your visibility across the platform, remember it’s social media, if you see a tweet that compels you to make comment then follow the basic philopshy above and go for it!

Advanced Methods

Let’s say anything over a thousand followers means you’re serious about this. Now you need to step things up while also raking in more followers because in theory the higher volume of followers you have the easier it is to get more. It me took several years to get a thousand, but way less time to get double that.

So what advanced methods did I use to get there? While the trends constantly changed, I did these things:

Posted regularly, normally more than 3 times a day.

Figured out when the majority of my audience were online. In my case I have an audience that is mainly Europe or USA based so I post in the morning for the folks in my time zone then wait until later on for the USA folks

Treated it like a job.

Did everything I possibly could to get more engagement by tweeting relevant, fun and engaging posts every time. Post memes, post fun stuff, ask questions, run polls, share reviews of books you’ve read, so many possibilities …

Kept following the basics while also using relevant hashtags.

Took part in the newest or relevant following fads – writers lifts, shameless self promos and other follow trains – they work trust me but not every day or week…

Kept it fun and light. I tend to stay away from heavy politics and opinion based stuff.

Kept away from negativity and toxic stuff which can easily be found just under the surface.

Final Thought…

It’s called social media for a reason, to be social and the more you embrace that concept the better. Following some of the advice above will indeed help. If you have any other advice then please do leave it in the comments below.

There will be a stack of social media tutorial things in my upcoming book which you can buy here, my resources section is also full of more guides and things.

My Top 5 Blog Posts of 2020

It’s December, a time to look back and reflect on what has been a good year for the Hall of Information. There have been some true highlights that have defined the era of quarantine with nothing but good memories of blogging. We thank you kind follower for joining us so for those who might have missed some of the best performing posts this year here’s a countdown style rundown…

Numero 5

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

We don’t need much of an excuse these days to put out a blog post but back in July we celebrated 6 years of doing just that. During those years I’ve learned a thing or two and fashioned such lessons into this post which then served as the basis for a self help guide book I have set for release next year. 26 other awesome bloggers like this post which is near personal best territory…

Numero 4

500 Followers Special – Awesome bloggers who deserve recognition!

It’s hard to believe that all the way back in April this celebratory post dropped and it focuses on the bloggers who have helped this Hall of Information grow into what it is today. Things have moved pretty fast in recent times and now we are on our way to 700 followers so I can imagine there will be one of these posts again in the near future. I highly recommend you follow all the bloggers mentioned…

Numero 3

Break Them All!!: A Modern Era Awakening! by DRTao – Review

Yes, a book review made it on this list which for me is the dream scenario because reviewing books is what we do here. If one person buys a book based on my recommendation then this would have all been worth it. This self help book I picked up all the way back in early February serves as a unique insight into breaking the so called shells that govern our existence. Well worth a look!

Numero 2

Book Promotion Results September 2020 Pt1

Supporting and helping fellow authors is the best way to support the industry you are in and if you support that industry it will support you, trust me. In recent times these book promotion posts have helped many authors navigate the murky waters of trying to sell books they have also got an awesome amount of views. If you have something people need, they will flock to it.

Numero uno

Book Promotion Results – July 2020

As you can see there’s a theme to the top end of this countdown and the most viewed post of 2020 is more book promotion results in the form of a guide which has hopefully helped others. We pride ourselves on helping others and it has paid off by bringing new traffic to this site and new books to read. Long may it continue!

That wraps up a fun but hopefully very useful list for fellow authors and bloggers. Tomorrow – the best books I have read this year. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

Weekly Ramble #90

This year has represented many things for me but probably above all it has proven how much I really miss socialising with people.

Writers are stereotypically introverted and of course we have to be alone to create but I get my energy from being around others. This virus has taken away that opportunity to recharge through socialising. There were days when I was much younger and relied mostly on the release of being social and being out there under the streetlights or even in a lively bar out in the world. It completed me in a sense and got me through more than I realised. This year has been difficult without that. Perhaps this is why I’ve stepped up my social media presence – there’s a pandemic so I have time and it’s also a great way to talk with lots of different folks. It’s probably why I have started interviewing fellow creatives on here also.

As humans we all need escape and being within the confines of indoors has taken it’s toll on the best of us. Until things get better out there I’ll be staying in mostly. I’m lucky to have a significant other who is a perfect companion in all of this and together we’ve binge watched the best of TV this year. The horizon does seem bright but 2020 hasn’t been anywhere near a write off, it’s been the most successful ever for my writing and blogging. Views are at an all time high, sales have been satisfying and the following of this here blog better than ever. Burying myself in work as an author and blogger has pulled me along, let’s hope that continues. I’m eyeing up next year to be even bigger and my efforts are not going to slow one bit.

I’m thankful but also enduring toward this year, November felt four months long, let’s hope December flows a bit better and then 2021, well anything is possible…

In a couple of days I am going to be taking part in Pitmad – a Twitter pitching opportunity where authors and agents connect. I’ve recently finished a project that would serve as a great opportunity to pitch. More soon hopefully… and if you’re on the tweet machine and see my Pitmad tweet give it a Retweet!

You can also catch my rundown of the best books I’ve read this year, that’ll be dropping on Friday! Peace out, rock and roll man!

Weekly Ramble #89

November is a strange and long month. I’ve always called it the month of lethargy and it is in some senses. It just keeps going. The sky is normally grey and the weather turns along with the nights that seem endless, much like this year. And what a strange year this has been.

I’m still quite hopeful that quite possibly my best news is yet to appear. One is allowed to be optimistic and of course vague as the ace up my sleeve is paper thin, but it’s still an ace. Perhaps all my efforts have been building to something bigger, that’s the hope and hope is something that has kept me going time and time again throughout the slog that 2020 has been. Keep reviewing books and good things will happen, keep blogging even when everyone was taken over or distracted by fear and good things have happened. It’s turned out to be the biggest period of growth and success I’ve known to the point where others are noticing. Supporters are returning week in week out – this ramble series, the most viewed normally each week. Folks that care and perhaps even want me to succeed, ah the dream. Not once has this writing, blogging and social media-ing deal ever felt like work, although I treat it that way, if something get’s a good reception I just go with it and hope things stick.

All I have tried to do is carry on and support others like I wish to be supported. The give as good as you get philosophy but perhaps flipped around although my expectations are always grounded. We’ll see what happens next because that ace beckons…

Weekly Ramble #88

Crossing the 600 follower mark is truly a noteworthy achievement. From every part of my heart, not just the bottom, thank you for following this blog so it could get to this moment.

When I was much younger, we’re going back to the very early years of when I used to just be a kid staying up and reading past bedtime, I only really wanted to be one thing when I was older; someone. The day in day outer’s who like the post’s on this blog; many who blog nearly daily themselves with pictures, stories, reviews, current events, book tag stuff, craft stuff and even a few political pieces – I feel like I’m someone to them.

Those day in day outers combined with followers who supported this blog from the very start over 6 years ago combined with those just showing up and those who I’ve connected with on the way through all the years – that’s you, loyal cultured reader. It means so much to feel like my words are being read. This blog has become my number 1 platform because of that support. Long may it continue, and those who see something in me, I don’t know what, thank you, wholeheartedly. I’ll keep chasing the words if you help me catch them in moments like this.