Weekly Ramble #116

Since 2018 I have read and reviewed 120 independently published books. The pillar that holds my authoring and blogging brand together is reviewing other authors books and to begin with it drew some very favourable results – blog follows, new readers, author friends and even sales for my own works. Those things drove me initially because they are good things for me but then I realised slowly that I wasn’t just doing this for me.

While I would never ever consider myself some kind of hero for reviewing books, I now do it for greater reasons than just personal gain because in all walks of writing it’s the ‘everything else’ after that makes this whole thing worthwhile. Some of these things can come unexpectedly and that might be the true power of writing. Over those years and books reviewed I’ve forged a level of trust from you and from a wider social media following all driven by a desire to make authoring and writing better. As independents in this social media age we are representing future generations of wordsmiths who will enter this arena someday, an arena where gatekeeping is slowing diminishing, it will probably never go away fully but we can at least improve things. Amazon have given anyone a platform to publish, but it is our responsibility to make sure it is represented well. These days you don’t have to be ‘someone’ to get any type of acclaim in writing. While agents and big publishers look to hold on to how things were, times are changing for the better. Anyone who has written something can now be successful instead of someone else deciding that.

Authors reviewing fellow authors books makes the indie scene better for everyone. I have said time and time again that reviewing others’ works will also help you but don’t expect a direct return, don’t feel entitled because you reviewed a book and want something back because ultimately what you’ve done will benefit us all – you’ve made this journey better for everyone.

Book Promotion Results: June 2021

While the majority of things in writing can be subjective, most authors will know the struggle of trying to market and sell their work. The sheer variety of ways to try and market books these days can be quite daunting but I reckon I’ve got a decent grip on it. Follow me as I lay out my latest book promotion efforts with a hope it helps another wordsmith…

Aim/Background Info

What is book promotion some of you ask? Well for the beginner and to me book promotion is any method that is used to sell books. This can be through a price reduction, paid advertising, free advertising and even less direct advertising like a social media presence. There are so many ways to promote a book and most of time I tend to combine these methods.

Firstly and quite importantly when it comes to promoting a book its good to have something to aim for or at least a reason why you are promoting a book. While sales is normally the main priority, this time I had another aim alongside that – more on that in a moment.

The book I would be promoting this time around was my very recently released self-help authoring and blogging guide book ‘Consistent Creative Content’ and on June the 26th it would be discounted to 99 cents (regular price $3.99) for that day only. My methods of advertising would be a paid promotion via book promo site Robin Reads and I would also be leveraging my social media following across a few different platforms. After the book’s initial release the sales have began to drop off to almost zero so a little advertising will hopefully jump start things.

Let’s break that down into three factors.

Time an important factor when it comes to promotion. One day only for this promo adds urgency for potential readers to buy a book on the day.

Price From $3.99 to $0.99 is quite a jump and adds a level of extra persuasion for potential readers.

Reach – Using a paid advertising package via a book promo site and my own social media following meant that I could reach more potential readers on the day.

Combining these three factors should result in a positive outcome for any book being promoted although different books have different circumstances to face such as rating and genre. You’ll also notice the book cover for ‘CCC’ is professionally designed and a beginners tip: potential readers do judge books by a cover so invest in a professional to give a book the best chance of selling.

Second Aim

For this promotional run I had another aim and that was to push ‘CCC’ up the Amazon charts so it could get a little more visibility and hopefully a few more ratings because my intention longer term is try and secure a BookBub Featured Deal. A few more ratings would increase the chances BookBub would say yes and their Featured Deal Advertising package is basically the holy grail of advertising. For me to get this book featured by them would be the dream as it would reach so many more readers. I consider this promo run a partial stepping stone towards a bigger picture.

You can read more about a BookBub Featured Deal here.

Background Statistics

As you can see the blue bar represents the launch of ‘CCC’ which gradually tailed off into June.

And then June had a few sales but then things became pretty sparse so it was time for some promotion!

The Results

On June the 26th and for one day only Consistent Creative Content was discounted to 99 cents from the original price of $3.99. Here are the results:

Sales in 5 territories and even some further sales all the way into July. A good promotion will keep a book visible and selling for some time after. A great book promotion will pay dividends even months later.

Chart Movement

The best chart movement came from the US and these numbers were in the high thousands at the start of the day. They are super competitive charts so to see these numbers improve was awesome.

It wasn’t until the next morning that I checked Amazon to see ‘CCC’ in the top 4. Fantastic!

It would have only taken a few more sales to hit best seller but that’s for another day perhaps.

Factors for Success

I’ve shared my aims and the basic details of the promo but what are the finer details? Here’s what I did/what happened during the promo.

Social Media and Visuals

Using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and this blog I spread my social media coverage wide and shared this book banner. Book banners make for a nice additional visual that should hopefully enhance the cover of a book.

I also shared a visual representation of some recent reviews and spread that around the platforms.

Specifically on Twitter I took advantage of the #shamelesselfpromosaturday hashtag and combined with 11k followers that helped spread the word significantly.

In general, social media is a hard arena to sell books in, especially as the platforms tend to notice you sharing links and things. This always makes for a challenge. You can read more about getting better results at Twitter here and you can read more about selling books without dropping the link here.

Reviews/Ratings

‘CCC’ already had some reviews and ratings but it really needed a few more, especially if I want a BookBub featured deal, they need to see recent review progress. Reviews serve a book for the purpose of promotion more than anything and some very needed reviews arrived right on time…

And on the day fellow author Ellen Khodakivska released this awesome review!

Reviews also started appearing over on BookBub which is vital for the long term and very much appreciated.

Concluding Thoughts

This ‘stepping stone’ promotional run succeeded in helping ‘CCC’ climb the charts and get some much needed visibility. Having paid $60 for the promo via Robin Reads the royalties are at a loss currently but I paid for this promo using the previous months royalties so I’m taking it as a win. To be able to put money back into to promotion after making it from a book is the stuff of dreams.

Remember its all about Time Price and Reach. If you can get those factors right then hopefully sales will come in. This time around I didn’t break any records but I jumpstarted my sales slump and positioned myself for a better chance to convince BookBub to say yes.

I’m not particularly interested in making a huge amount of money in authoring and this book I have written is to help others more importantly. Hopefully this post helped a fellow wordsmith and you can read so much more about book promotion via the resources section or alternatively you could buy Consistent Creative Content which is currently $2.99 or less in some places and is full of guides like this one.

Thanks for reading and next stop BookBub…. or I will at least apply for their featured deal….

Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age by Lee Hall

Thank you to fellow awesome blogger Clemence for this wonderful review of Consistent Creative Content…

Dreamed Worlds

Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age

Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age by Lee Hall

Genre:Writing, Non-Fiction.
Pages: 135
Publisher:Lee Hall
Rating:4.50 stars (Goodreads)

Summary:

Best-selling indie author and blogger Lee Hall shares his journey of experience in this part-memoir part-guidebook that aims to inspire and inform budding wordsmiths at any level. From the basics of blogging and authoring all the way to advanced social media methods and marketing; this book is filled with good practical advice, top tips and effective strategies. You’ll even find some never before shared resources to help navigate your way to authoring and blogging success in the social media age. Subjects include:

Basic and advanced blogging;
Basic authoring and a publishing overview;
Social media for authors and bloggers;
Book marketing and the art of indirect selling;
Book promotion strategies. Including worked examples;
Book reviews;
Building your own turning…

View original post 376 more words

Tips For Better Twitter Engagement

The Tweet machine. A conversation driven social media platform full of opportunity for pretty much anyone. Engagement is the way to succeed but how do you get more? This is a post dedicated to helping a fellow tweeter with that, but first, what exactly do I mean when it comes to engagement?

To me, and from experience, Twitter engagement simply means conversation. In really simple terms, engagement is basically any activity resulting from a tweet, so better engagement equals more activity and conversation. This also includes likes and retweets. From there, many more possibilities will emerge from making new friends to even sales. Now we’ve defined what engagement is, here are some tips and methods to get more?

Spend More Time

Everything I have achieved in authoring, blogging and social media-ing revolves around having the time to be present for it. This is more of a long-term thing but it is also the most important tip I can give you because presence is what makes the tweet machine turn. If you do spend more time on the platform eventually you shall be rewarded for it and over that time you’ll probably figure out what subjects best suit your audience. Twitter has a very specific psychology that takes time to master and as long as you set out to inform, inspire, entertain or provide some level of value you’ll be okay.

An average day for me on Twitter is around 7 composed tweets, sometimes that can be pushed to 10 but this took time and I gradually ramped up to that number. This leads us to…

Consistency

Tweeting sporadically and even randomly probably won’t get as much attention as someone who tweets regularly every day so a consistent tweeter will naturally draw more engagement. If you tweet 3 or four times daily for a week at spaced out intervals then I’m pretty certain by the end of that week those tweets will see better results. I’m no expert but I’m certain the algorithms at play will push regular tweeters to more people.

Figure Out What Works

Using the above, eventually you’ll be able to figure out what your audience responds best to. Tweets that do get better engagement – do more of, Tweets that don’t – do less (easier said than done right…).

What kind of subjects get more engagement? There are too many inputs to list but keeping it either visual or conversational will probably get a better reception. Twitter wants users to stay on the platform so posting links seems to have a negative effect on engagement most of the time – I know this because I have spent hours figuring it out. For those of the author persuasion you might find this post useful. Variety is key when it comes to subject matter.

Feeling Invisible? My top tip would be to take a look at some previous and recent tweets, do they all contain links? Links tend to bury your visibility. Try posting that link in the replies or simply talk about the link instead. I’ve said link a lot..

Reply Where Possible

A revelation for me and an actual physical tip to instantly get more engagement is to reply to a comment that someone has written on your tweet. Doing this will boost the visibility for both parties engaged in conversation and all you need to worry about here is thinking of something that has conversational value. A simple thank you is enough sometimes. Get replying tweeters, it is good for conversing and it boosts everyone involved.

This also applies to you commenting on other users tweets because when I am not tweeting I tend to find something to comment on and this will boost your presence further.

Use Hashtags but Sparingly

Opinion alert but there is nothing worse than seeing a tweet that is full of hashtags. It screams sales, sales, sales and won’t encourage conversation. Sometimes there is such thing as too many hashtags because to me they appear a little too try hard plus they make a tweet difficult to read so I’ll just scroll past if I can’t understand something. From experience you only really need a maximum of two or three per tweet and I tend just use one and put it at the end of a tweet. Remember that specific experiences will differ for each user – this stuff is just from my own experience and not a solid set of rules.

If you really want to test your engagement levels, try tweeting without a hashtag and see how well that tweet performs.

Offer an Incentive to your Followers

No matter how big or small your following is there will always be a fellow tweeter looking for a signal boost. Offering a retweet in exchange for a retweet is great way to cross promote one another. Every few weeks I tend to change my pinned tweet and then ask my followers to retweet it. In return I’ll offer to do the same – this is great for maximum visibility and that pinned tweet of yours could strike up some conversation.

As you can see from this tweet I offered an incentive and also prompted others to drop a fun gif or picture which boosted it even more. Considering this tweet didn’t have a hashtag the numbers were great.

Offering a shout-out is often incentive enough for another tweeter to engage with you. While my recent book release was on pre-order I positively mentioned anyone who did reserve it and I even added some of their books to my tbr list – I shared that also.

* Short Advertisment Intermission *

If you are enjoying this post you might find my recently released self-help guide book useful also. Its packed with tips and guides for an author or blogger just like you!

Ask Constructive Questions

Asking questions seems to be an overused method to get more engagement on twitter to the point where it is pretty much a trope. Saying that, tropes do work and asking constrictive questions or questions that provide some thinking to answer, work very well. Personally I tend to ask questions for stuff I don’t know the answer to because I genuinely need an answer. My advice would be to stay away from the inane type of questions and only ask questions on occasion. This also leads to…

Keep it Conversational

‘Talk first and let the talking do the selling’ is becoming my philosophy on Twitter. These days I hardly share any links to my works and while some of my tweets do mention my books there are so many other things to share and talk about. As long as your product is easily findable you’ll be surprised how many sales are generated just from conversation.

Go Against the Grain

While everyone in the author twitter world might appear to be dropping links, asking inane questions and putting out that same tweet every morning some of them aren’t and sometimes it will do you good to try different things. Standing out will get engagement and you really need to do is confide in your following. How much you share is your choice but sharing enough to prove you are human will connect with at least one person.

Manage Expectations and Perspective

Try not to be too hard on yourself. It takes a long time and a lot of tweeting to get good engagement but the journey getting there should be fun and one of trial and error. Every tweeter is different and their engagement levels face different circumstances.

If someone has 20 followers and gets 20 likes for a tweet then their engagement rate is excellent whereas I have over 10k followers and 20 likes for my tweet is sweet victory for me personally. All of the above seems to work for me but even in a few months time that could change. Twitter can be a wonderful platform for connectivity and as long as you set out to be conversational eventually you’ll find rewards.

Thank you for taking the time read this post, if you have any tips for better Twitter engagement then do let me know by leaving a comment below. You can find more guides and stuff over on the resources section. Peace out, rock and roll man!

Further Reading

If you enjoyed this post then you’ll probably enjoy my self help authoring and blogging book that is full of experience based advice on social media. Head on over to Amazon and search for Consistent Creative Content.

The Bag -An Excerpt

Hello Friends, today I am sharing a pair of flash fiction excerpts from a fellow blogger and author. Enjoy…

cch217

Hello all you lovely readers and writers. I have two flash fiction, short story collections and I’m getting ready to pull together a third…because ‘hat trick’. (Which may make a good title: notes for later.) The following is an excerpt from a short story found in Down The Rabbit Hole: Another Experiment in Flash Fiction. My first collection is Haunted Hydrangeas: An Experiment in Flash Fiction containing twenty-four selected works ranging from a quick 200 word flash fiction piece, to an elaborate 3074 word short story. With out further interruption here is the beginning of TheBag: Enjoy -Megan

The Bag

The Trail

The trail had gone cold. That was the frustration which James Newton was feeling. He saw the target disappear into the woods but the trail went cold as soon as they hit the rocky cliff. If he had been more steadfast into making the…

View original post 2,455 more words

Banned Authors on My Shelf

Happy Sunday friends. Today I am re-blogging a fellow author and blogger’s post about some books. Enjoy…

cch217

Definition:

Book banning, a form of censorship, occurs when private individuals, government officials, or organizations remove books from libraries, school reading lists, or bookstore shelves because they object to their content, ideas, or themes.

Now that we have established a definition the following are authors on my shelf whose works have been challenged or banned. In looking these up and reading about censorship in general I’m saddened by the current on going list of challenged and banned books of today. What I meant this little write up to be and what it became of course are of two different worlds. The following six books are on my shelf, I’m also adding in links to the current challenged/banned books of today. My two cents from looking at these authors, write what you know, ‘speak the truth and shame the devil’ which is a line of dialog that I picked up…

View original post 1,439 more words

Exclusive Excerpt of ‘Consistent Creative Content’ by Lee Hall

Hello cultured reader, here are the first few pages of my authoring and blogging guide book which is currently available for pre-order at a discounted price.

I figured it was a good idea to share a snippet of what you can expect in the book which I hope helps fellow wordsmiths on their authoring and blogging journey…

Introduction

This book explores what I’ve learnt on my publishing journey, presenting it in a way that I hope will inspire you to believe in your own abilities to replicate and even surpass my success. Belief is all you really need on any journey and if I can get results that I’m happy with, then you certainly can. Success is based upon how you judge the results of something over time – it’s both fickle and in the eye of the beholder.

I’ve always measured my results beside the number from where I started – absolute zero. And compared to zero my numbers today appear to be quite impressive, but the truth is, they haven’t always been like that. I’ve spent most of my time nearer to zero than any other number and that’s something everyone must be prepared to face. Some call low numbers failure but to me there are no failures in life, just lessons and opportunity. Both go hand in hand when it comes to writing. The most important thing in writing is to start, even if it is at zero. 

This guide can be defined as a series of experiences from the many years I’ve spent as both a blogger and an author in the social media age. Much of the content might seem obvious but there is also some advice I have never shared before. My hope is to help you progress in the world of authoring and blogging even if you take just one sentence of advice from all of this; to me that’ll be a good job done. Like I said, this may just be in the eye of the beholder – you, and you alone can go as far as the imagination will allow.

Before we go any further, I will tell you now that this book is for anyone looking for advice and inspiration in blogging and book writing. You could already have an established blog or a backlist of books written and published. You might even be pondering your very first foray into the world of words. Everyone is welcome here and you’ll find something, no matter where you’re starting from. Much of it is delivered from the perspective of a beginner with some of the advanced stuff being advice I follow every day.

For me, writing books and blogging go hand in hand and while they are both explored in detail, you won’t find any information on how to specifically write and format a book or construct a blog site. I am not qualified to show you the latter and the former… well, nobody can formally teach you how to write a book in my opinion. It is my belief that the journey of writing and finishing a book is something only the individual can find within themselves. Instead, we will explore how to market yourself as a creator on social media through all the various channels I have experienced. At times it will mainly be blog-centric, but there are some in-depth marketing resources for authors as well. Many of the chapters ahead are interwoven with blogging and authoring advice because to me, they go, hand in hand. 

I have started in this manner for two reasons:

  1. So anyone can see from previewing the first pages if it could be of help to them;
  2. To be upfront about what success I have had in blogging – see the graph below.

This graph shows my blog viewing numbers over many months from September 2018 to recent times. As you can see, they gradually and progressively improved over time forming into a ‘wave’ which will be explored further ahead. The blogging element of this book will focus on how I got to those numbers and how I took the opportunity to continually improve them. The graph stands as proof that everything you write gets results to some extent, and those results echo the message that everything else in this book will take time and that there are no quick fixes.

I say results because for me these things worked; there is no guarantee that they will work for you. I’m in the inspiration business not the miracle business, but every wordsmith faces different circumstances and so I have concluded that, across the board, you need three core attributes to have any chance of success in blogging and authoring:

1.You need to be consistent;

2.You need to be creative; and

3. You need content.

This trio is the main reason why my blogging and authoring endeavours have been successful. Because I hold these attributes in such high regard I even included them in the title of this book.

In some applications you’ll only need one of the trio, in others two and there are a few more vital attributes outside thetrio that I will point out along the way. Some, until now, were my best kept secrets while others appear obvious.

All in all, this guide is laced with ideas that’ll help you improve your authoring and blogging, to achieve greater success. Many of the sections will even begin with snippets of advice from the various authors, bloggers, creators and friends I have connected with over the years – all of whom have found success in their own ways.  

Apart from blog views or book sales what else counts as success? Follow my words and I will show you. Remember, you can do what I’ve done and go even further…

This is an exclusive excerpt of ‘Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age’ which is currently available for discounted pre-order. The price will rise on release which is very soon. Links below.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Amazon Aus

Amazon India

Question of the Hour Presents: Author Neil Christiansen

Hello friends, today I present an awesome ‘Question of the Hour’ interview by a fellow author and blogger.

cch217

I present you with the latest victim of my random questions author Neil Christiansen.

‘Neil Christiansen has a way with words and imagery that pulls you into the gritty underworld of Chicago, in his modern noir thriller Dark White. Dynamic characters finding their way through the gray landscape of morality. Hold on it’s quiet the ride.’ -My Review of Dark White

Why do you write?
Everyone asks this question and I don’t really understand it. I don’t think people ask singers why they sing or bricklayers why they lay bricks. I write because I’m compelled to. I have stories in my head and they belong on paper. I hope people read them and like them, but even if they don’t I still have to write them.

What do you get out of it?
At the moment I get pride and my own satisfaction. I also get grief from my family…

View original post 716 more words

Weekly Ramble #102

I’m starting to enjoy the whole author social media thing. Twitter engagement has really come into its own over the past few months and my audience seems to be growing by the day. Books are selling and reviews are coming in, not just for The Teleporter but other titles as well. I’m tempting fate by acknowledging my success especially because I said at the very start of this year it was going to be brutal.

I guess if you stick at something and get some experience it eventually pays off. Got to keep going, keep chasing and keep creating – that’s my mantra in recent times and its paying dividends. People are drawn to success and much of this is in the eye of the beholder. I guess perception is part reality although I cannot ignore the statistics which are glaringly phenomenal right now. 2020 was the first full year I had 5 books to promote and they say things turn a corner after 5. While taking the pandemic demand for content in my stride I’ll say that things turned a corner and now the bar is continually rising. A year after that stride, things are going from strength to strength. I’m in a place I wanted to be.

People seem to listen to what I have to say now. That tweeting into the void of invisibility has fallen away. Now my tweets get like by several people, sometimes over a hundred. From where I once stood that’s an incredible feat on its own. I’ve carved this ‘success’ out of helping others and continually producing content while never giving up.

This was always a long game and after a while if you turn around there’s a whole bunch of road that has been travelled. I guess time flies when your kicking ass, especially when you don’t realise you are doing it.

‘Raven Woman’s Tavern’ by Laura Koerber – Review

There were many things the people of Warrentown didn’t know about Raven…”

I’ll admit the first line of this book’s blurb caught my attention straight away and the reading experience that followed did not disappoint. The powerful prologue sets the scene of a remote forest setting where man came, destroyed and then left again but the constant being ‘Raven’ who is a powerful deciding figure among the trees and a place where this book finds it’s setting.

“Animals, plants and people, came and went, but Raven stayed…”

Most dystopian futures focus on cities or even the masses but Raven Woman’s Tavern homes in on the path less travelled and welcomes you to Warrentown, perhaps a forgotten corner of the world where a community of people are still trying to survive whatever happened out in that wider world. Many of them are older or just trying to get by and we meet near enough all of them along the way. It has all the feels of a Stephen King multi character piece but without the overindulgence because between them there is a real sense of community and their hub just happens to be a quaint tavern. Of course this is intentional because Raven is watching over them and protecting them with it.

The story begins to take direction as a group of young Militia turn up at the tavern looking for more than just a few drinks and their troublesome presence brings the a taste of what is going on in the wider world. After one of the group’s wallet appears to go missing they return yet again looking for trouble but instead receive a lot more. This is where things really kick up a notch because Raven starts to play with their heads and what is supposed to be a short path for them becomes a lot longer and for the sake of protecting the people of this small community. For one of them in particular this path puts everything into perspective and becomes an opportunity for Raven to recruit someone new.

Laura Koerber tells this immersive story with range and imagination. There are even a few deep metaphors about life and survival. It’s dark in places with some chills but also carries a deeper moral story about community. My only real critique would be for the ending to have a little less pace but for anyone looking to read something different with a dark fantasy edge then this is the one for you!

4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery.