Hello friends, awesome news alert. I am proud to announce that I am going to be a Professor for the ‘I’m An Author Academy’ – an exciting new venture alongside some wonderful creatives that will guide the authors of tomorrow by sharing our wisdom and lessons learned over the years.
Together we are going to be there for those who want to evolve from from just saying they are an aspiring author to I’m An Author!
So what is the I’m An Author Academy all about and where did this come from? Well, last year and through social media I connected with fellow author and Instagram Royalty Emma Jean who approached me and two fellow authors with this incredible idea. That idea being to pass on everything we have learned on our journey and as a collective our skills range from writing, publishing, marketing, blogging, social media-ing to even podcasting.
Right now, we are working behind the scenes to put together content while Emma Jean is putting in ahuge amount of work and effort to bring this academy to life. For those who frequent this blog will probably recognize her name as the author who wrote Sleeping Beauty and The Cursed Code which I reviewed last year.
And here is some more information about the fellow authors who will be joining me as Professors.
Emma G. Rose is a multi-published author who also hosts the brilliant Indie Book Talk Podcast which I highly recommend you listen to especially if you are a supporter of indie authors!
To be included in this wonderful group is probably one of the biggest compliments I’ve received on this writer journey and also a testament to how effective indie publishing and social media can be for connecting with others. This generation of social media creatives is incredibly important for the future of books and publishing so it’s imperative we pass on as much as we can to help it grow and evolve. Our combined efforts make us quite a team.
You can expect to hear a lot more soon as the full website for the I’m An Author Academy will be launching but here’s the landing page. Be sure to check out the Academy’s Instagram page and make sure you give it a follow – your support is very much needed and of course, appreciated.
If your new here or just need a reminder I write fiction. Here are two excerpts from my ebooks available on Amazon. Also all my ebook titles are free with Kindle Unlimited, or .99 cents each. -Megan
Blood dripped off the side of the heavy bottomed crystal ashtray, in Corbin’s hand. Surrounded by exotic flowers in the Botanical Gardens Greenhouse, staring in disbelief over what had just occurred. Corbin had always considered himself an intelligent, rational man.
Hell he was Dr. Corbin Newcomb practicing Cardiologist with the University Medical Center.
Diana had done nothing wrong, they had spent a lovely day together looking at antiques, having lunch and touring the gardens. She had even picked out the ashtray that was now splattered with her blood as a gift for him. Corbin dropped the ashtray, turned and stumbled towards a bench. He sat staring at Diana’s body. Trying to remember…
The thing about being busy is that some milestones tend to creep up on you and yesterday the notification came through saying this blog had reached 50,000 views. Let me take this opportunity to thank every single visitor to this site who makes up that number. To be read in a world where everyone online is trying to get exactly that, this is a pretty awesome feeling. This post is dedicated to looking at some fun statistics from the 9 years Lee’s Hall of Information has been operational, you’ll even find a few tips also.
So let us take a look at the individual monthly numbers first. As you can see things started rising ataround the midway point of 2018 which was an important year. A year that I began reviewing indie books and released my 3rd and then 4th book
You can see the highest views came last year in March, April and May – this coincided with the pre-order run and then release of my author/blogger/ social media guide Consistent Creative Content.
Tip for authors: When releasing a book, every element of promotion should be at the maximum running up to release. For this case, my social media and blogging endeavors were and in May I hit 10k Twitter follows.
If we dive a little deeper into the individual years you can see more views appeared as I created more blog posts.
You can also see that comments and likes increased with that content. It seems the more you put in eventually the more you get back.
So where did the majority of my all time views come from. Here are the top 10 nations:
Of course there are numerous other places where my readers come from so wherever you are in this world, thank you!
2021 was the best year yet and so where did most of the reader traffic get referred from?
Twitter makes sense as I spend the majority of my social media time there although it is still a challenge to get link clicks on the platform so how did I get so many?
Twitter link tip: Instead of sharing a link in a tweet either drop it in the reply below or just tell your following to click on the link in your bio (you’ll need to put a link in your bio for them to click on). I’ve been doing this for the majority of last year it has got me nearly 6,000 clicks.
And lets take a look at what you guys have been reading. These are some of my most popular posts of 2021:
You can find some of these things over in the Resources section or just search for them via the search bar which should be to the right or below somewhere depending on your browser. Evergreen is the key word when it comes to these posts – basically stuff that can be shared again and again and have appeal over the long term. The top 3 in particular are very much in that category.
Blogging Tip: Most of these posts were published some months ago and have gained more reads by being shared several times across platforms. It’s okay to share older stuff to newer audiences, especially if you have a following which has grown.
50,000 all time views is an incredible milestone and I hope you enjoyed this post. This Hall of Informationblog has become my internet home as a creator and you are all welcome anytime! Peace out, rock and roll and blogging man!
As the year draws to a close I have saved the best until last. Although I appreciate every author and their wonderful works that got me through 2021 this post is dedicated to the books that stood out to me.
‘From Voiceless to Vocal’ by Danielle Larsen
Having read this memoir all the way back in February it has remained with me since for being a brave, candid and incredibly well written account by Danielle Larsen. Mental health and escaping abuse are the central themes while also being subjects that might not be talked about as much as they should – this book isn’t afraid to go there with the path it carves in order to get that point across. Its ultimately inspiring and gives hope even to those who seemingly have so much stacked against them.
Quote from my review: ‘no matter how many chips are down you can always come back, there’s always hope and survival is probably the greatest gift we have.‘
‘Nocturnal Salvation’ by Villimey Mist
Part 3 of the ‘Nocturnal’ vampire series is both the concluding pay off and a display of how far Villimey Mist has come as an author. Her craft unfolds throughout the series and much like the story peaks in this one. If you are looking for a modern and sometimes gory take on vampires, then this book and wider series is for you.
Quote from my review: ‘There are dramatic turns and even shocking moments that’ll keep those pages turning before a resolve that is both satisfying and even a little emotional.’
‘Josef The Writer’s Cat’ by Ellen Khodakivska
This story comes from a unique perspective and that being a writer’s cat. Its a brilliantly executed tale of one cat’s journey and how he see’s the world while also being a reminder of how important animals and pets are in the family. Ellen Khodakivska delivers a book that will appeal to many different ages and especially those who write.
Quote from my review: ‘We do sometimes take things for granted in life and this story reminds us that pets are such an instrumental part of it while they also have a life too.’
‘Life of Maggot’ by Paul Jameson
Paul Jameson delivers another masterful vision of literature through a unique style that favours deep description and classic style language. This book is very much laid out like lyrics from a song in what is a story about the end of time and told through the eyes of ‘Maggot’ as chaos unfolds. This is escapism in its finest possible form.
Quote from my review: ‘No matter what bad is happening there is always hope and ultimately there is some light to be found somewhere.’
‘Born in Stockport – Grew up in the Royal Navy: Book One’ by Maurice Perkins
Charming, funny and full of variety, Maurice Perkins or Moz as he is known tells a wonderful life story of childhood antics and then joining the navy. In between there are some great moments that bring a lot of enjoyment to an awesome candid memoir.
Quote from my review: ‘From a youth spent being a ‘scallywag’ getting into all kinds of trouble to finding success in the Royal Navy – his journey is both inspiring and full of lessons that are valuable for anyone…’
‘Wonder Rush’ by Dan McKeon
Dan McKeon delivers an awesome tale of one teen assassin that has always followed orders and fulfilled her mission no matter what name she is given and then events make her think about the morality of everything she stands for. What follows is a coming of age morality check journey that is both enjoyable and easy to read.
Quote from my review: ‘You can give a person all the assassin training in the world and try to engineer out all human elements but they are still human.’
‘Sleeping Beauty and The Cursed Code’ by Emma Jean
Emma Jean has combined two concepts that I have a lot of time and passion for, that being STEM and Fairy Tales. All Fairy Tales have a deeper important message and this one carries that while also encouraging younger readers to take an interest in STEM subjects. Sleeping Beauty is brought into the 21st century and this adaptation excellent.
Quote from my review:‘With some fun moments along the way and plenty of awesome tech, magic, original concepts and a good old fashioned good versus evil story this one is guaranteed to bring enjoyment to younger and older readers.’
‘Everything, Except You’ by Emma Jordan
It can be hard to find a really good slow burning romance and while that’s just my taste in love stories Emma Jordan hits all the right notes in this one. With a little drama and plenty of feel-good vibes along with a little cosiness, I really enjoyed this tale.
Quotefrom my review: ‘A well-executed story about two people and their lives that are made better for finding each other and the way in which they discover a love for each other…’
‘We Watch You’ By N.S. Ford
With dark tones and missing person vibes, N.S. Ford tells a tale that takes readers down the rabbit hole of the unexpected as three friends try to decipher a mystery that consumes their lives. The journey is eventful and culminates after a multi-layered puzzle for a plot that pulled me in all the way to an unpredictable perhaps even haunting ending.
Quote from my review: ‘The darker moments carry impact and overall there is some real power in this story that continually goes to unexpected places and even strange places.’
‘Deceit of the Earth – Heavy Metal’ by Henry Cox
Having enjoyed the first ‘Deceit’ book by Henry Cox I was intrigued to see where he would go next and with this story I was immersed into the world of rare earth metals and how they dictate the future of our technology while also being a bargaining chip in military politics. This thoughtful story takes readers back in time and fuses fact to fiction flawlessly. If you like Crichton or Dan Brown then you’ll enjoy this one.
Quote from my review: ‘From military aircraft to world geography, the delivery of his knowledge and imagination merging makes everything believable and the final verdict may even be out of this world.’
‘The Right Thing’ by Kelsey Kupitz
Kelsey Kupitz tells a page-turning easy-to-read story about a past trauma that finds itself returning for ‘Astrid’ who has struggled with it for most of her adult life. Now she must face that past and what follows are chilling mysterious tones with a little dose of the unexpected.
Quote from my review: ‘Atmosphere, originality and intrigue take the reader to the depths of the unexpected with some great twists at the end because ‘everyone has a secret’.’
Dust & Lightning by Rebecca Crunden
Futuristic world building combined with societal concepts that echo our own reality are two things that are right up my alley and so when I saw Rebecca Crunden had made this free to download I jumped at the opportunity. You may know Rebecca and the awesome support she shows authors via her Indie Book Spotlight account on Twitter and I really enjoyed this thrilling spy type story that takes readers across worlds.
Quote from my review: ‘There are plenty of messages and themes throughout with many pointing towards revolution and the nature of humanity.’
And so that wraps up the best books I have read in 2021. The banner featured at the very top displaying all of these great titles will remain on my Indie Book Reviews page for the entire year. Thank you for reading, thank you for your books authors and peace out!
In 2021 over 20,000 readers visited this blog. A record that stands as the best ever for Lee’s Hall of Information and proof that your words can eventually find an audience no matter how long you have been trying. And to me, trying is all you ever have to do in any vocation to find results.
Good things take time, work and patience and if you are willing to endure the journey of facing zero and the general graft of it all then someday that reward will present itself. That may sound easier said than done, especially now as I sit here with such a great number but those who have been around a while will know this journey has not been easy. From reverting to zero to dealing with the general snooty gatekeepers who I share this literary industry with. I have also found a wonderful and giving audience, you guys, who keep me blogging.
The future of this blog is incredibly bright and after so many years, ups and downs and work, this whole deal is starting to pay off! Thank you for reading and joining me. 2021 is coming to a close but there are just a few more tricks up my sleeve before the sun goes down on it.
2021 has been a year of variety in terms of reads for me. 43 in total and all of them indie or self published. I’m a big believer of supporting the industry that I’m apart of and so here is a break down of the first 21 books I read and reviewed in 2021…
‘Civil Blood: The Vampire Rights Case That Changed a Nation’ by Chris Hepler
‘An alternative but realistic take on vampires with sharp political and biological edges…‘
Writing guides that help fellow authors, bloggers and social media-ers has become a vital pillar of my content in recent times. There’s a reason why this here blog is followed by over 900 good souls. Helping others also feels good and then seeing them succeed via some of my advice is even better. This post is dedicated to the top 5 guides I have put together this year, most of which are centered around book promotion, selling and social media.
5. Let’s talk about… why your book isn’t selling…
Viewed an impressive 400+ times this year, this post is dedicated to helping authors find all kinds of ideas to sell their books before and after publication. You can read the whole thing here.
4. How I landed another deal with Bookbub
Those who have been around a while will know that this year a major turning point came for me in the form of a BookBub Featured Deal for my super hero comedy novella ‘The Teleporter’. 10,000+ people downloaded it in a single day. Shortly before the promo run I put together this detailed guide on how I got the featured deal. And for those asking, a BookBub featured deal really is worthwhile.
3. Book Promotion Results: April 2021
April 2021 serves as a record holder for so many things. It was my first $100 royalty month, it was also the month where my highest amount of paid sales happened in a single day. This guide highlights how I did it.
2. 10 ways to sell a book without dropping the link on social media…
This one always gets a lot of attention and you might have seen me sharing the link for it on Twitter rather ironically. Link dropping is a rather interesting subject on Twitter and this guide shares how to sell books without dropping a link. With a viewership of over 500 its one of my best performing posts of the year and probably will be for some time. You can read it here.
1. A Concise List of Book Promotion Sites
Any my most viewed guide of 2021 is a list that many authors including myself use as reference, hence the fact it will probably be evergreen. I update it regularly too and book promo sites are a wonderful way of advertising your books. Check it out here.
And if you are looking for more guidance on authoring, blogging and social media-ing I have a guide book which is coming to paperback in the next few weeks.You can find more information here.
The truth is out there among the stars and so is the journey to thought-provoking enlightenment
D.K. Johnson has combined all the interesting and cool elements of space and ufology to deliver an original and satisfying tale that’ll make you believe. ‘Daniel James’ embarks on a journey from debunking the existence of extra-terrestrial life to belief as he witnesses an event that sets him on the path towards truth and revelations.
Being an astronomer and a man of rational science ‘Daniel’ has always viewed space and the wider cosmos with an objective logic, that is until one fateful night he finds himself in Joshua Tree National Park, injured and alone. Eventually he stumbles upon the company of two friendly strangers on a UFO pilgrimage.
“As he resigned himself to spending the night with his new companions, Daniel reluctantly settled in, rationalizing he might as well be the voice of reason for these strange men and their weird beliefs…”
After that night and following a mind blowing life-changing event, Daniel isn’t the same. His mind seems altered, his spirit is seemingly awakened and aware of what could actually be all around but just on a different plain or frequency. A weird kind of snapping sound seems to catch his attention every so often and his senses are seemingly improved. Something is trying to reach him and all of this eventually becomes a kind of enlightenment as Daniel sees things for what they really are.
Of course with these revelations comes the thought-provoking and ultimately revealing element of the government being involved and as they appear on the radar, the rabbit hole of the situation becomes apparent. Are we really alone? Are their forces in the shadows of government operating alongside these alien forces. Just what is the history with all of this? The answers and eventual twists make for some original and entertaining reading along with a well executed narration style full of rich description.
For anyone who is lightly interested in space or ufology will enjoy this one, I certainly did!
Ah, the freebie, a normally guaranteed way to stir any type of consumer interest or so they say. This post will look in detail at the free e book promotion – something I know a thing or two about because since being published in 2016, I have run the free book promo 14 times… Yikes, that may sound like a big number but spread out over 5 or so years it has served me quite well. Let’s talk about it…
By definition, the free book promotion to me is the concept of setting the price of an e book to zero. This can best be achieved through Amazon KDP and if your digital book is enrolled in KDP select then you are allocated up to 5 optional days every period to list that book for free. I have highlighted the ‘optional’ part because although 5 days seems like a good amount, in my eyes the shorter amount of time a book is free, the better – this taps into the whole impulse purchase and urgency thing which is quite important in selling anything. Creating a sense of impulse and urgency in a free promotion will increase the likelihood somebody will want to download your book.
So, is a free book promotion worthwhile?
There are plenty of authors I know who will never offer their work for free and that’s fine in my eyes. I suppose its a case of weighing up your individual options against the factors for success. For me, I don’t earn a living through the books I have published, in fact I am nowhere near that yet, so making money as a self-published author right now is not on my wish list. But gaining a readership is and if my free promotion is executed effectively then that is exactly what will happen, eventually, in theory, maybe…
This whole thing is subjective, so remember everyone’s situation is different.
I tend to use the word eventually in most of my author situations because this really is a long game and hopefully with my results below you’ll see that. Before we look at the results which have improved over time, there are several factors as to why a free promotion can be a success. Here are the main ones:
Type of Advertising/Budget
Probably above everything else, the who and how much you spend will dictate a lot of a book promo’s success. Higher end book promo advertisers also have higher quality readers who leave reviews like BookBub. Budget will also determine how much reach it will have. In my eyes, for a free promo, I’m going all in so the money I spend will be returned eventually through reviews, readers and even social media follows. You can find some of the book promo advertisers I have used here.
The second major factor in all book promotion is combining different methods – what I mean by this is perhaps playing around with the price/advertisers/books available. This is where book promotion runs can be deemed a success or not. In the many times I have run promos I have also reduced the price of other books or even advertised the free book before and after a promo. Just free is great, but other combinations are even better. I nearly always ‘stack’ my promotion too – this means using multiple advertisers over several days.
Social Media Reach/Activity
The higher and more engaged your social media following, the better it should be for any promotional stuff. Me; I’m pretty much addicted to Twitter and my following of nearly 20k does help. At a glance, the more you put into social media over time, the more you get back. If your profile gets bigger, more people are going to be interested in your work. Building trust over time online will create a fanbase eventually. How? Here’s a guide for that.
Genre/Time of Year
A wintery ghost romance probably won’t sell much in the height of summer but it will during the autumn and winter months. Genres and seasons do tend to go hand in hand. From late September all the way to Halloween works really well for horror and thrillers.
Length of Promo
I mentioned above that being enrolled in KDP Select will allow you up to 5 days every enrollment period to use for free promo but the shorter the promo run, the better. Impulse and urgency sell books that are on a price promotion.
Most of my free promotion runs saw better results after a certain amount of reviews. There is no fixed number but having over 5 will help a little. The more reviews a book has the better in theory. In terms of ratings, anything over 3.5 stars average rating should do quite well also.
My top book promotion advice is to have more books available and the more you have on your shelf the more a potential reader will invest in you. Even if their first read from you is free, if the experience is enjoyable then they may just return as a paying reader next time.
Make it Easy for the Crowd
Have you ever offered a physical book or two for free to your social media audience? From a signed paperback to an advanced e copy? Was the response mostly crickets and you weren’t sure why? There’s something about singling people out and then offering them something because every so often it doesn’t work. People don’t tend to like being singled out and so a free e book promo makes everyone feel part of a crowd with way less reader pressure.
We’ve looked at the factors now let us look at a few real life free book promo examples. When I ran my first free promo back in 2017 it was kind of a stab in the dark. Something I have tried to improve over the years… (the book selling, not actual knife things…).
Scenario 1 (2017)
Book Title: Open Evening + Darke Blood (Both Free)
Amount of Amazon Reviews: 6 (UK only)
Length of Free Promo: 5 Days
Books Published: 2
Budget Spent on Advertising: $70
Social Media Following:
Open Evening Free Downloads: 713
Open Evening Paid Sales After: 12
Darke Blood Free Downloads: 144
Darke Blood Paid Sales After: 29
A very good first attempt at a free promo. Although pricey, 800+ free downloads and then paid sales after for both books was a win in my eyes. Turning a profit at this stage is difficult and not a priority. This was a good entry level free promo and to me anything over 500 free downloads for a book is good. You can read in a little more detail about this promo here.
Scenario 2 (2019)
Book Title: Darke Blood (with ‘The Teleporter’ free on the final day)
Amount of Amazon Reviews: 10
Length of Free Promo: 3 Days
Books Published: 4
Budget Spent on Advertising: $100
Social Media Following:
Darke Blood Free Downloads: 3,403
Darke Blood Paid Sales After: 2
The Teleporter Free Downloads: 88
An excellent result. 3000+ downloads for any book in that space of time is huge. Capped off with the last minute free promo of The Teleporter on the final day – this proved my theory of eyes being on any other book you have published during a free promo – remember combinations? That’s a major factor for success which you’ll see in the third and final scenario. You can read my detailed report on this promo here.
While the above two scenarios are impressive in terms of numbers, the free promo gets more valuable when you have more books available. By the time of the next scenario (April 2021) I had 6 books available, 4 were part of a series and the free promo and a book series go hand in hand for combination stuff. This next scenario is also after my BookBub Featured Dealwhich was also a free promo and resulted in 10,000 downloads of The Teleporter in a day. Time is your friend with this stuff and you’ll see how my results shifted below.
Scenario 3 (2021)
Book Title: Open Evening with rest of the series discounted to 99 cents or equivalent
Amount of Amazon Reviews: 27
Length of Free Promo: 1 Day
Books Published: 6
Budget Spent on Advertising: $165
Social Media Following:
Open Evening Free Downloads: 940
Open Evening Paid Sales After: 2
Paid Sales of other books in the Series on that day: 176
Total Paid Sales that month: 230 – A record that still stands today.
You can see from the results that the free promo kind of takes a different role because the other books in the series all sold from that initial visibility. You can create a series page on Amazon that links all books in that series together – let Amazon do the work with this, they have the infrastructure so take advantage. Paid sales pushed all of my books up the charts and to better visibility and the best thing is this book promo broke even the next month. April 2021 was my first $100 royalty month and then the second was May. You can read about this promotion here.
Often overlooked is the concept of e book page reads with can be tracked via the KDP sales dashboard. As you can see from mine and historically they have spiked and even sustained after every promo run since 2017. With more books and promos this can become quite an opportunity while also tracking results.
From the scenarios and factors laid out before, you can make a free promo very worthwhile. Of course there have been plenty of not so great promos but they are all part of the journey. You just need a backlist, a budget and some tactics. So in conclusion and for an effective free promo, these things work well:
Minimum time – 1 or 2 days work fine. Impulse and urgency. Think of it as an occasion;
More books helps sell all involved. Discounted prices if its a series. Combinations;
Paying for advertising – kind of a no brainer, plenty of good book promo sites out there. Stack them over some days;
Social Media Following – helps but not essential;
Reviews – Some reviews help.
There are always a few anomalies and variables for the individual but everything laid out above should help to sell books. I have found running a free promo works best every quarter or so and over time it can help grow a readership. These days my book sales are regular and mostly at full price all because I started with the free promo some years ago and built a foundation from it.
Thank you for reading. What are your experiences with the free promo?Any lessons or thoughts?
If you enjoyed this post I have stack of more promo scenarios in my author/blogger guide book which is available now!
Page-turning sci-fi action with a revolutionary theme…
Rebecca Crunden introduces readers to a futuristic world not too dissimilar to our own time where there’s pollution, a rich to poor divide and a government that stokes the fire of such only now its on a grander scale. Straight away we find this out as the scene is set in this rich setting and the stakes are introduced via ‘Ames’ who is on a rescue mission of sorts. A mission and journey that will take him across planets while being chased all for the purpose of finding his missing brother.
On his tail are the various agents of the Democratic Plantery Alliance which are anything but their namesake and even though our main character is seemingly wanted he still does his best to do the right thing. He meets ‘Violet’ and intervenes in her situation which in turn forges a bond and an unlikely ally in a situation full of uncertainty. They band together and eventually arrive on the distant planet of ‘Kilnin’ in search of answers.
Pages turn quickly in this action and drama packed chase/find story without chapter breaks hence I read it in just a couple of sittings. The world-building is on point and the wider universe is something with a lot of potential especially as the ending brings promise of that. There are plenty of messages and themes throughout with many pointing towards revolution and the nature of humanity.
“Eventually even those who avoided the world were drawn into its madness…”