Awesome Recommended Indie Reads #8

And so the journey of reading indie books continues. Here are some of my recent reads…

‘Sentinel: Galaxii Book 4’ by Christina Engela

Immersive and enjoyable space-sci fi…’

Full Review

‘A Still Life’ by Elliott Wink

Short and intriguing, an original sci-fi tale perfect for reading in one sitting…

Full Review

‘Dead of Winter’ by Antoinette McCormick 

‘It comes in the night…’

Full Review

Check out Lee Hall on Patreon

‘Fallout’ by Pat Griffith

An imaginative and highly original tale about first contact with corporeal beings from another world some of which are already here….

Full Review

‘Where Darkness Meets Light’ by Sabrine Elouali

Thought-provoking poetry reflecting many themes surrounding the dark and light…

Full Review

‘San Francisco Suite: A Rudy Parsons Story’ by Ethan McCaffery

Well-written detective mystery with noir tones and a metaphysical twist…

Full Review

‘Pirate Sea’ by Kyler Kuehler 

A swashbuckling and sometimes brutal tale packed with action

Full Review

And so that wraps up another edition of awesome recommended indie reads. Thanks for stopping by and remember to leave a review after your next read!

1000 Blog Followers Special

Blogging has been a journey that’s served as probably the greatest companion and outlet for my creativity. This Hall of Information blog began life as a plunge into the unknown to create a presence and a home for my writing online. It pulled me along when nothing else did and eventually over some years it became the central pillar of everything Lee Hall.

This post is a short reflection on reaching 1000 WordPress followers which is a huge number for a WordPress blog and a powerful thing that has kept me inspired to simply keep going. Over some years I found my creativity, my consistency and of course my content through this blog and eventually it began to turn the needle for me. There are so many lessons I have learned over the years on this journey and this blog has been there for all of them.

Like many of my successful moments, they are defined simply by the fact I have just kept going, kept chasing and kept learning. Along the way I gained you, a loyal follower and reader, someone who answers back from the void that I was seemingly shouting into all these years – the secret ingredient to all of this. I am living proof that blogging can be a success if you work for it and part of this journey would be nothing without this Hall of Information blog – a hub and account of my journey told in real time. And time is what it takes for anything good in this world along with good people to help me, you.

There are a plethora of influences who have shaped my blogging success, from those who nominated it for awards to those who might just be silently reading without ever engaging with me – both and everyone in between is fine for me and no matter who you are, as long as you are kind, you are welcome at the Hall of Information. From the day in day outer’s who I see blogging everyday to the occasional creator, the interactions I have had over the years with all of you have given reason and meaning to this sometimes hard journey.

From then, now and to the future, thank you for supporting me. I have learned so much from what you have given me.

‘Fallout’ by Pat Griffith – Review

An imaginative and highly original tale about first contact with corporeal beings from another world some of which are already here….

Pat Griffith takes readers on an original and unexpected journey that begins in one place and then takes a direction I did not see coming. A group of high school aged friends spend an evening camped out in the woods for some stargazing and experience something none of them could have possibly expected. And then there’s first contact as the real story kicks in.

The light around them dimmed, eliminating the shadows. The sun grew cold and the wind blew harder. As they looked up, gravitating toward each other, there was a mutual, unspoken question between them: What in the world was that?’

The pace suddenly quickens as its apparent this fallen meteorite contains life that has a unique invisible ability to spilt and take over a human mind. This life even has a conscience and thought process even if it does find the human anatomy seemingly foreign. After hitching a ride on their nearest hosts the chase begins as the authorities are informed – the FBI who usually turn up to these things are on the case and then comes the realisation that some of these beings were already here, hiding amongst us. The focus is on the human mind and how it can be altered or even intercepted to the point where they (the humans) are no longer in control.

Through the vessel of some wonderful description and heaps of originality we are taken on this ride of chase and hide adventure as these beings intercept and try to run. There are even those in authority who have succumbed to the effects of them. What they want is never really known but does it matter? Perhaps not because like all life, that’s probably what they want, to live. There are brief shades of Invasion of the Body Snatchers but with a less horror-esque tone and more of a focus on that corporeal life that silently takes on a human host.

For anyone looking to read an original sci-fi adventure about life from another planet that intercepts life on this one, this is definitely one for you!

4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

Weekly Ramble #145

Thank you to those who signed up to my Patreon over the weekend! For all my social media posting and effort I wasn’t sure if anyone knew about my latest venture of Twitter coaching. Social media can be hard sometimes, especially when you want to yell from the high hills about something but the algorithms and platforms tend to work in mysterious ways.

I am recording again today – another coaching session which will drop this week and will be exclusive to Patrons. Of course those who do sign up will receive regular shout outs on Twitter as well as access to a growing catalogue of exclusive content. Having something to offer regularly is the key to success on social media and whilst it can be difficult to be heard, those who do keep going will find ways to be heard. I am proof of that and even though my numbers aren’t huge, they are enough for me.

This month is the anniversary of Consistent Creative Content and soon you can expect some cool promotional things.

Have a great week!

Weekly Ramble #144

2022 has been an incredibly busy year but also quite rewarding. Last weekend saw the final performances of my 4th play which was very well received. While it is wonderful to receive great feedback it is just as wonderful seeing performers take on my writing and have a great experience with it. Some of them doing this for the first time, will probably never look back.

Not so long ago, it was me up on that stage and after choosing writing as my primary thing it gives me wonderful satisfaction to see performers enjoying themselves and even having that all-important moment when they know that performing is for them. Its even like they have found their calling and that is the resultant of art sometimes. Most creatives eventually have a positive experience which draws them back to creating and over the years I’ve had my fill.

My journey has been a series of chance encounters with creativity with each one building towards my love for writing and telling stories. Long may it continue because this writing machine never stops.

Book Promotion Results – April 2022

And so I’m back to share my most recent book promotion results. Those who do follow me on Twitter might have seen my efforts last weekend and so I am here to share my results with a hope it may help a fellow author.

Brief Intro

For those who don’t know me, my name is Lee Hall, I’m an indie/self published author of seven books from the UK. I’m a huge believer in helping and supporting other creatives in the community and the majority of my success has come from building trust with others. I also never give up and my dream for the world to read my words is getting closer by the day. Using mostly social media, I regularly sell books around the world but every now and then I’ll give those books a little extra help by way of some paid advertising.

Some Basics

So what do I mean by book promotion? Well to me, book promotion is a large umbrella of variety that covers many different methods to sell books. As an indie and someone who began this journey at zero much like many of you, I have determined that sometimes, selling books is really hard but not impossible. Its all about visibility and making people aware of your work.

There are a plethora of ways to increase your visibility and the majority of mine comes from Twitter where I have over 25,000 followers – something I spent a long time working at growing. From this, I normally manage to get sales roughly every other day which is awesome but every now and then I like to give my books a bigger push.

My Aim

From the seven books I have published, four of them are a part of the Occult Order of the Following Series which is horror/thriller in genre. My next release is going to be the fifth and final book in the series and so my aim for this book promotion was to increase my sales for theses titles.

How?/Methods

So how was I going to promote these 4 books? By way of some paid advertising. Over the years I have used many different book promotion sites which are basically websites that offer a range of advertising for a fee while some are free. Many of these sites have access to large mailing lists which can help get those books in front of newer eyes. This method normally focuses on selling digital books and my e book sales have always been stronger than paperback.

Basic Tips:

Generally, the more books you have available, the more cool things you can do to try and sell them.

Free is good for visibility: For those who do have a series like me, pricing Book 1 for free in digital format and then discounting the others to 99 cents or equivalent will help sales. Book 1 will most likely attract readers who then will hopefully check out the series. Those with e books enrolled in KDP select will be given a number of optional days each period to price your book for free.

Create a Series Page: Amazon allow you to create a separate page for your series which also helps for visibility. Having this link to share helps direct readers to your work. Here’s mine.

Time and Urgency: Running a promotion for just a short time really helps create a sense of urgency – Amazon allow five days for a book to be free but one or two is perfect.

Invest with Money: I’ve said this before but if you want serious results, sometimes you have to spend money for that.

Spread across Platforms: When I run any promo, normally I create a post on here where my 900+ followers will see. I also do some stuff on Instagram and of course Twitter. This cross platform spread helps get the word out.

Book Banners: Book Banners work quite well for a nice visual that can be shared across social media. Combined with a professionally designed cover, they help. I created this banner myself and there are plenty of decent online Photoshop sites out there along with licence free image sites like Pixabay.

Who did I advertise with?

For this promo which I ran for just one day on Saturday April 9th 2022, I advertised with Free Booksy and their awesome series feature which allowed me to link the rest of the books in my Order of the Following Series beginning with Open Evening (Book 1) which was free.

Stacking Promotions: Normally during any promotional run I will advertise with multiple sites, this is known as stacking, but for this promo I used just Free Booksy. They offer a range of advertising services and not just for series.

This was the first time I had used just a single advertiser. And so, on with the results!

Results

There are two main ways in which I look at the results. Firstly the free downloads of Book 1 Open Evening:

Just 3 downloads shy of 300 for a single day with just a handful over spilling the next day was a fantastic result. With 6 different territories taking part and considering this was a promo with a single advertiser, I am happy. But, did the free promo entice any paid sales for the rest of the books in the series?

The answer is yes! And I haven’t seen that many paid sales in a single day for quite some time and because I have never ran a series promo with just a single advertiser, this is a personal best!

The most popular title seemed to be Book 4 Darke Awakening which had a rather quiet release back in 2020 and proves my theory that it is never too late for a book to find sales!

Now the best indicator of a good book promotion run isn’t the day of the run but what happens after. And a good book promo run will continue to bring in results for some time after. Seeing as this run was only a few days ago, here are some more results:

After a very dry spell in terms of KENP page reads, they finally sparked to life. All of my fiction is on Kindle Unlimited and so that extra visibility has boosted page reads!

It might be unrelated but the day after the promo, my super hero comedy The Teleporter hit 180 Amazon ratings! So perhaps this promo even brought in other books in my bibliography.

Factors for Success

With nearly 400 digital copies of my works finding readers, let us look at why this promo run was a success:

All of my works have professionally designed covers which is a must for that first visual impression. Check out Design For Writers – they do some fantastic work and have done all of my covers;

Some reviews help and every one of the books in the Order of the Following Series have at least 5;

I have a series page on Amazon which means all of the books in the series are in one place;

The price reduction across the series pretty much guaranteed a few readers looking for a bargain to grab them and because this was a one day only deal, the urgency probably motivated that;

I invested money in the promotion and sometimes you have pay serious money to get serious results;

My social media game was on point. Not only did I put out a post on here but during the day I was active on Twitter and made sure my audience knew about the promo.

Final Thought

I do hope this post has helped in some capacity because marketing and selling books is an uphill struggle for most of us. These methods seem to help but there is always something else to do be done. You can only do what you know at the time. My advice would be to take your time and try and few things at once. It is never too late for a book to find readers and my first book Open Evening which was released in 2016 is proof of that!

Thanks for reading!

Here’s a short list of resources that will hopefully help with your book promo efforts:

A list of Book Promo Sites

Book Selling Troubleshooter

Free Book Promo Guide

You can also find a whole host of book marketing and social media advice in my guide book Consistent Creative Content which can be found on Amazon!

Weekly Ramble #141

Indie April is here! Which in recent years has become quite a spectacle for fellow indie authors to celebrate their works and support each other. Even those outside of the author bubble jump on board for a month that I have been looking forward to for quite some time. You’ll find me across my platforms supporting fellow indies in as many ways as I possibly can because this author support train does not stop!

To anyone who does support indies like me or for any month of the calendar year, thank you! To those who have releases this month, best of luck!

Outside life things have been keeping me busy for the past few weeks or so but now I am back for more blogging, book reviewing and of course social media-ing. 2022 has already been an extraordinary year for so many reasons and while it does appear to be passing rather quickly, I am ready to seize every opportunity to keep on rocking and writing in the free world! Have a great April!

‘Powerless’ by Vicky Ball – Review

A well-written twisting thriller with darker themes…

Vicky Ball delivers a twisting tale that carries a plethora of darker themes while being executed in a page-turning style that hops back and forth in time with dual P.OV’s. Ball does everything to tell this story and succeeds. As readers we are shown just enough to suggest what is happening beneath the surface of a story that tackles the themes of naivety, coercion, trauma, addiction and of course danger that is a lot closer than first realised.

When ‘Beth’ returns home after several years after disappearing it brings up all kinds of questions and contention that places her younger sister ‘Abby’ on a twisting path of realisation. There is a lot to unpack and it happens gradually while the twists appear unexpectedly. Perhaps this a cautionary tale for those who are younger to not be so trusting to those who clearly want something – a powerful message aimed at readers of a certain younger age who will get something from this book. What we are shown is just enough without glorifying or even exploiting the many issues the reader and characters face. The concept of ‘Businessmen’ simply casts a long enough shadow to suggest what is really happening and the message being about trust.

With a story that goes full circle, Powerless is a thrilling and twisting tale that will take readers on a dramatic and sometimes unexpected ride.

4 Stars – Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads

Overview: SHAKEN NO MORE by Jacqui Morrison

To thrive in the present, one must overcome the past.

Tragedy is nothing new to playwright and performer, Meredith Golden. She’s endured the violence of an alcoholic husband, the tragic death of her parents, and abuse from her uncle. To say she is a fighter is an understatement. She is a survivor. But tragedy leaves scars. When Meredith meets Paul, it seems that the past is finally behind her, but when her ex-husband begins stalking her and making new threats, old wounds are torn open. She realizes that peace comes with a high price and ’til death do us part may be a curse that can’t be undone. As her world spirals out of control, Meredith vows to be Shaken No More.

REVIEW:

Her Best Book So Far
I received an ARC (Advanced Review Copy) of the book in exchange for an honest review. Shaken No More by Jacqui Morrison is a romantic suspense novel and it’s women’s fiction set in New York City in the 2010s, with flashbacks to the 80s and 90s. This is Morrison’s fifth novel, following Kaitlin Wolfe Crown Attorney, The Vigilante, Escape The Castle, and Terri’s Journey – The Colour of Rain. Shaken No More may be her best book so far.
This is the story of Meredith Golden, a performer and playwright, who has to overcome staggering real-life challenges. The novel title cleverly alludes to James Bond’s catch-phrase “shaken, not stirred” and there are more cocktails in this story than a 007 movie. There’s drugs, detectives, doctors, divorce, and violence, in this story. There’s also therapy, meditation, qigong, and healing. Will Meredith thrive? Can she survive? That’s the mystery.
The romance is with Paul, after Greg reveals he has problems. Some of the story is told from Meredith’s point of view and some of it is told from Paul’s, but most of it is a third person narrative that will keep you reading and cheering for Morrison’s main character until the final page.
This novel has 76 chapters in 267 pages and that format gives the narrative lots of momentum. Morrison describes everything so the reader can see it as clearly as in a movie. The novel would make a good movie about the scars left by tragedies and how one woman battles back, in the big city, and move on to the next stage and the next.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jacqui Morrison has a B.A.A. from Ryerson University in Toronto, and two graduate certificates. One from Humber College School for Writers, Toronto, in 2017. And a certificate in Adult Education from Seneca College, also in Toronto. She has been writing professionally since 2000.

Jacqui won the 2009 IPPY for best regional fiction for Central and Eastern Canada for her first novel Kaitlyn Wolfe, Crown Attorney. In 2013, her second novel The Vigilante came out. Escape the Castle was released in 2018. She has also been published in four anthologies, including the Best of the Muskoka Novel Marathon 2000 – 2010. SHAKEN NO MORE is her first romantic suspense novel.

Weekly Ramble #138

Variety really is the spice of life and being a social media author the same thinking generally applies for me. As long as you have a multitude of ideas and can lay them down in an orderly fashion, eventually you’ll succeed. The algorithms might change and so will the platforms but those who do continue to seek fresh ways to get their content out there will also have their content consumed by the end user.

Peaks and plateaus, that’s what this journey has been for me and while today’s numbers might seem low, they are still ten times better than a few years ago. No matter what valley or shadow banned state my social media engagement is currently in, it will spin back towards momentum soon. That needle, it can’t always be in constant motion but my drive and desire is. Everyday is an opportunity to find better results, reach new people and of course convince existing followers to stick around.

My conclusion is swaying towards a realisation that I might be a functioning serial busy person – by that I mean constantly having a challenging amount to do keeps me motivated and keeps me working. They do say busy people get things done and so here I am getting things done.