Weekly Ramble #146

Just a few years back the concept of reaching 30,000 Twitter followers is something I would have laughed out loud at. Not anymore. And this journey has known zeros often but not today because I’ve reached that once impossible seeming milestone on the platform.

Of course and above all, this has not been a solo effort or journey. Much like all of my successes, they have been governed by others. And the help of others is what has pushed me to go further and dream bigger. I am nothing without the fantastic support of you and the now 30,000 followers who give me reason to keep going. This creative journey has been hard and every now and then it does bite me on the rear end but, the rewards are huge and this is a defining turning point.

But how? And what advice would I give to anyone looking to grow on social media as a creative? Just be open and do your best to build conversational bridges. My agenda has never really been to make money – I suppose that’s what has driven me to try and find something else and I have, conversation, support and consistency, they are just three of the many elements that make up the factors of my Twitter success. If you can offer something, someone out there will probably be motivated to take it. That and the sheer will to never ever give in, no matter what adversities I’ve faced internally and externally. Rewards come to those who work and keep going.

There is a hell of a lot more to come from me and you can expect a lot more content based on my Twitter experiences soon. For now, be sure to check out my Twitter Coaching Sessions here.

Thank you for the support!

‘Lazy Creativity: The Art of Owning Your Creativity’ by Kyle Bernier – Review

A detailed, modern and refreshing take on creativity that covers so many applications for success!

I had so much fun reading this detailed guide that not only lays out so many ways in which you can explore creativity, but it also normalises and embraces laziness to the point where it can even help with that creativity.

Kyle Bernier delivers his outlook through several easy to digest chapters that work together as an intricate guide whilst using an approachable style littered with light humour and a relatable tone. It is also written in a way that anyone can follow and for that makes it must read. There is plenty to digest and take in but it never feels overwhelming even if I did read it all in just a few sittings, now I am equipped to be the best lazy creative I can possibly be. Bernier identifies so many applications and types of creativity such as quiet, ugly, big, small – this guy really knows his stuff and as an artist and academic he has the knowledge to back it up.

“Everything we need to be successful creative people is inside us…”

Most of us have incredibly busy lives and so finding time to pursue creativity tends to fall further and further down the priority list but this guide opens your eyes in so many ways to find time, even if it is just a short amount to pursue that creativity which to many like me, cannot function without. There are heaps of positivity here not just for being creative, but for everything that surrounds it.

For anyone creative or those looking to be more creative in a plethora of different ways, you’ll have a lot of fun reading this awesome guide which carries a great vibe throughout and will lay out everything you need to equip yourself to embrace laziness and become the best possible creative!

5 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

Indie Book Rec’s : Non-Fiction/Memoirs

In celebration of #indieApril over on Twitter and because there are some wonderful indie books out there, I’ve put together a series of posts recommending some awesome works I have read over the years.

This post is dedicated to the genres of Non-Fiction and Memoirs so here are some books I highly recommend:

‘Break Them All!!: A Modern Era Awakening!’ by DRTao

A unique mind opening insight into breaking the shells that govern our existence…

Full Review

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‘Amazon Keywords for Books: How to Use Keywords for Better Discovery on Amazon’ by Dale L. Roberts 

Essential reading for marketing books effectively while gaining a better understanding of Amazon key words and beyond..

Full Review

‘The Art of Reading: How Reading Can Help You Become a Better, More Productive Writer’ by J.D. Cunegan

A relatable and open guide about reading to improve your writing…

Full Review

‘A Squatter in London’ by Irene Pylypec

An enjoyable well written memoir about a young lady who embarks on a travelling adventure…

Full Review

squatter in ldn

‘From Voiceless to Vocal’ by Danielle Larsen

Candid, brave and ultimately inspirational…

Full Review

‘Born in Stockport – Grew up in the Royal Navy: Book One’ by Maurice Perkins

An entertaining and gritty series of real life tales told with charm…

Full Review

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to use #indieApril over on Twitter to show your support for indie authors and their awesome works!

‘No Rest For The Wicked : Detective Stories’ by Megan Hinde – Review

A collection of intriguing short noir crime stories

Megan Hinde has put together a collection of quick-to-read stories that center around Detective James Andrews as he investigates a multitude of homicides and the mysteries that accompany them. There’s a noir feel to these stories that take readers on short but enticing journeys through the fringes of many different people and situations all of which carry that crime theme.

I managed to easily read the collection in just a few sittings and particularly enjoyed the final story ‘Following Fireweed’ that see’s Detective Andrews put his knowledge and skills to a ‘different’ type of use. For anyone looking to escape for just a little while into the underworld of noir crime will find this collection enjoyable, I certainly did.

4 Stars

‘Spook City, U.S.A.: A Shadybrook Community Patrol Novella’ by Drew Purcell – Review

Fun, unconventional easy-to-read comedy that never takes itself too seriously while delivering a good story with plenty of laughs…

Drew Purcell steps out of conformity and bravely delivers a book that many ‘literary’ snooty types will look down on through their noses but not me because this was an awesome and fun read! Comedy in the present day is hard to find, good comedy is even rarer and while this book has all the feels of a mid 2000’s gross-out comedy it is so much more.

Welcome to Shadybrook; a Californian town that has seen better days and where there is always a mystery to be solved, from the legendary ‘Route 66 Apeman’ to the whereabouts of a Native American Relic.

‘I don’t think anyone consciously chooses to live here, but it has its way of sucking people in…’

Of course there are Scooby Doo vibes as the narration even comes from the eyes of a dog. Our two main characters ‘Mickey’ and ‘Charlie’ have resided here all their lives and decide to join citizen driven police patrol effort with a view to pick up women. Their efforts seem to succeed albeit comedically and so the makings of a crime fighting group is formed.

There are cool and fun references left, right and centre which take a jab at so many different things from tropes seen in story telling to modern entrepreneur business types and there is even a wealth of awesome music that is laid out after the story. Comedy is a hard thing to get right and Purcell succeeds most of the time by putting in as much as he can throughout – the stuff that didn’t land for me was the few references I didn’t know of but most of the time I found the book to be a fun and sometimes metaphorical look at the world with even some forth wall breaking. For some unconventional and unique fun I’d happily recommend this to anyone looking for that. This is comedy done right.

4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

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…

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Awesome Recommended Indie Reads

Ah, the reading, reviewing and recommending of books. The truth is I haven’t done one of these posts in quite a while and considering it’s Indie April, now would be an awesome time to share some awesome indie books. Let’s dive in…

‘From Voiceless to Vocal’ by Danielle Larsen

The first awesome book on our list is a bravely told memoir that highlights the journey of Danielle Larsen while focusing on mental health and her relationship with an abusive partner. These are sometimes difficult subjects to talk about but in this book they handled with grace and the story is ultimately inspirational. To quote my recent reviewThis book acts as guide in some senses to spread awareness while also informing others. The narration style feels natural and relays every moment with dignity and there are some moments when you cannot help but feel for a person who has been through so much…’

‘How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market’ by Ricardo Fayet

We’re moving into book marketing territory now with what stands as a pretty extensive and awesome guide for authors. Anyone looking to seriously make a career out of their words can benefit from this guide which is basically a bunch of Reedsy blog posts packaged together in one place and a whole lot more. I came across this one via Reedsy Discovery as I have been a reviewer for their platform for nearly a year now. This one is definitely worth a look! You can read my full review here.

‘Deification’ by Brooklynn Dean

The newest release from Brooklynn Dean did not disappoint and according to twitter she is already working on the sequel. Using intimate description and a unique style this tale of apocalyptic proportions will take you places, they might be violent and brutal places but I could not look away. From the obvious symbolism to the lesser visible deeper meanings in this book, ‘Deification’ is an awesome encapsulating read. Here’s my full review.

‘Raven Woman’s Tavern’ by Laura Koerber

From the first line of the blurb I was already hooked and this book was right up my alley as they say. Set in a dystopian type future the story focuses on a small forest town as an aging and sparse population try to get by. They are disturbed when a group of younger Militia turn up and well, the Raven woman works her magic so to speak. I thought it was an awesome read and you can check out my review here.

‘Pestilence’ by Susie Kearley

Now the past year might have felt like the apocalypse to some but this book lays out in detail what could happen if a fungus could really bring the end of days. From the emergence of a new wonder drug to this fungus brought into existence by a warmer climate, Pestilence is a charmingly British but very well thought out read. Susie Kearley had this novel in the pipeline for thirty years and you can tell she has worked incredibly hard to bring it to publication. Although it is a longer book it doesn’t feel that way as the pages fly by. An awesome read and you can find my full review here.

That wraps things up for now. You can expect a new indie book review hopefully by the weekend. Thanks for stopping by!

Bookbub Featured Deal Promo Results

Well that was a ride… and I’m partially still on the rollercoaster of emotion, sales and everything else that comes with having your largely unknown book thrust into the hands of the mainstream… this is my reflection, review and hopefully knowledge passing-on post about how my Featured Deal with Bookbub went. Let’s dive in…

The who’s?

For those who just want to know the results, scroll down. For the finer detail start here…

Firstly who are Bookbub? In a sentence-ish; they are a big time distribution site that advertises books to a huge following with a somewhat promise of actual return on investment – they are hard to get in with, very hard and their featured deal is considered the Holy Grail of promotions. You can read more about them here in my post explaining how I got a featured deal… Authors can sign up to Bookbub, create a profile and then list their books. People can even leave reviews for them…

Who am I? Well for those who have arrived on this blog’s shores for the first time, hello, I’m Lee, I’m from the UK and I am an indie author of 6 books so far. I’m relatively unknown although I’ve been around for a few years now, my books have a moderate to small amount of reviews – I’m a small time scrappy underdog of an author trying to get the world to read my stuff and I don’t give up… In terms of book sales, I’ve sold around 1000 since 2016 through my various promotional efforts. I’m nowhere near earning a living from this but one can dream right?

Who were bookbub going to Feature from my backlist? My super hero comedy novella ‘The Teleporter’.

The Deal

After somehow agreeing to advertise my book, Bookbub agreed to feature it on Saturday the 6th of February in all their major markets. The US, UK, Canada, Australia and India. It would be advertised as Free to download and so I set the price to zero for that day. Because I have other books available I set them to 99 cents a piece also…

Top Book Promo tip: A Free book promo is a great way to get a lot of downloads. It’s a please all method that many folks will grab. Personally I tend to keep my free promo day’s few and far between – once every quarter is probably enough and even then for me it will be a different title every time.

The Result…

I’ve always had a rather funny relationship with Lady Luck. On the day of the promotion I was struck down with a rather bad spell of food poisoning. Even in my reduced state I managed to do some tweeting and social media-ing but things were not great for me, we’ll go into what I did to promote the deal below, however in terms of book promotional efforts let me refer you to the graphic…

I think we can all agree 10,000 plus downloads in one day for a small time nobody like me is pretty damn incredible. Now I know it was free but normally my reach for a promo like this is 10% of that. Damn, that’s a lot of downloads! The free downloads trickled into the next day with 580 more by the time the price went back up to 99 cents.

If my maths is correct and if 8000 of these readers actually read The Teleporter fully then I am set to make about 3 Grand from page reads…

Final Free Download count: 10,926

Due to my state of health I couldn’t properly track chart positioning’s during the day of the promo but it went to #1 in multiple territories. But that’s not all. For the day I set the price of my other books all to 99 cents or equivalent and they sold!

As you can see the numbers aren’t huge but every book I have available sold for actual money and so here comes another top tip: When promoting a book for free make sure you set your other works to a discount – this will near enough guarantee a little interest. Of course this only applies if you have other titles, if not grab that pen and get writing more books!

Here are the final figures of everything I sold after a week:

It’s quite funny that I only sold 1 paperback out of 10,000 sales. Thanks to whoever bought it, you are literally 1 in 10,000! Basically every sales record was smashed during this run with sales happening for a record 9 consecutive days after and so that brings us to…

The Aftermath

Now the immediate results were awesome but the real result of any book and it’s promotion is best measured over time. Boy this is where the real rollercoaster began…

Literally on the day of the promo KENP page reads shot up. From an average of 20-50 page reads a day to hundreds, the 10,000 readers had began their journey but that’s not all. Now The Teleporter was in front of newer eyes it began to sell even after it was free. Every day after the promo for a week it sold.

This is where a free promo or any promo will pay off because the exposure has pushed the book a lot further up the charts in front of new eyes. And then after a few days came the crowning moment…

The orange label of destiny found itself attached to my scrappy little underdog of a book. The Teleporter had become a best seller and made me, a best selling author… while my food poisoning had subsided and I was seemingly on cloud 9, things weren’t all celebratory…

Lessons learned the hard way….

Wholeheartedly, if I were to do Featured Deal again, I would. The results above you can see have turned a corner for my authoring career but and although I am relatively thick skinned there came a point where reviews started coming in and not all of them were positive. In fact the rating across the board for The Teleporter has dropped a little. It appears only the folks who didn’t like it are leaving reviews…

Lesson: When you present the mainstream with a free book they will download it no matter their taste. They see the price first and perhaps nothing else. Some of these folks might not like what they read and they will express that in sometimes scathing, hurtful reviews. This started to unfold by day 4 and it’s still unfolding, although there’s were so many more positive reviews, the negatives are the one’s we dwell on… As an author I know the reality of reviews, I am also an adult but sometimes things folks say can hurt. That is probably the one warning or take away I want anyone else to have from this: the more your work is exposed to the masses, the higher chance you’ll find someone who doesn’t like it. That’s okay and it’s normal because the whole literary industry is built upon it’s favourite word; subjective. Those who have left scathing reviews don’t really provide me with any valuable feedback so it’s kind of pointless. Either way it’s also quite hilarious to see people react in such a way for a comedy. It kind of makes me want to write a sequel just to get back at them.

Comedy is probably the most subjective genre out there, the gulf of different reviews has proven that. The highs have been high and the lows have been scathing – people really will tell you if they didn’t like a comedy… combine that with it being free and the emotion exploded. My author friend Karl on Twitter explained it way better than me..

Like most things in life we skim over the bad and embrace the good, and so that’s what I will do now…

The 2nd Aftermath…

I’ve never received so many new reviews in such short time. The amount of ratings The Teleporter had was below 20 and now it’s growing, good or bad, a rating is a rating. Here’s a couple of the better one’s…

But that’s not all because the aftermath kept on aftermathing…

By day 9 The Teleporter had crossed over 50 ratings in my home territory of the UK – just another awesome achievement. Ratings above all are proof of readership.

Factors for Success

I’ve explained everything the best I can but for anyone looking to successfully promote a book via Bookbub or not, this is the section for you because now I shall delve into what I did and why it worked… Some of this stuff might feel like a repeat but this is what you need to successfully promote your book:

Pro cover art work and banners to boot: Selling books starts with the visuals and people do judge them by their covers. I have invested good money in my cover art work and it looks great. Design for Writers deserve the credit for this but you need a pro looking cover to sell books! Combine that with a shiny banner and you are set.

A badass social media game: Due to my wonderful engaged following on Twitter I am currently killing it with tweets regularly being liked by hundreds of folks. Things have really stepped up recently and so that has to be taken into account for the success of this promo!

Distribution: The greatest struggle an author faces is making the world aware of their works. What did I do to spread that awareness? Of course Bookbub helped but I did these things also:

Used my mailing list: I have an email list of 80 or so readers. On the day I sent them an email with the above banner and information on where to buy my other discounted books.

Utilised that social media following: On the day I put out a blog post, put out a post on Facebook and plastered the link all over twitter to over 6000 followers. Using the right hashtags can increase visibility big time. In particular I took advantage of the #shamelessselfpromo movement that happens over on twitter at the weekend. My tweet is below:

Took advantage of having a backlist: The best way to sell books is to write more and have more available. Not only did folks download The Teleporter for free but they bought the others that were discounted.

I didn’t just rely on Bookbub: Okay Bookbub’s reach is awesome but I really wanted to make sure I got the most out of this promotion so I also advertised The Teleporter on a range of other promotional sites. Some were paid and others were free. They were:

E Reader News Today

Ebook Bookster

Indie Book of the Day

Bookrunes

Bookdoggy

Bookbongo

Bookhippo

Bookwerm

Bookangel

Pretty Hot

Itswritenow

Armadillo E books

Timing: This is a huge factor for success of a book promo. Without looking at genre and the time of year because that’s a thing, The Teleporter was available on a Saturday which is normally a busy day for internet traffic.

The Teleporter is a niche genre: Bookbub are incredibly hard to get in with. Authors try for years to convince them and it’s perceived your book needs to be award winning and highly reviewed to have any chance. My book is neither, while it was accepted by them a few years back it’s a bit of a wildcard but the humour genre has a small catchment rate – by that I mean it’s not like the thousands of crime thrillers that get rejected each day because nothing against crime thrillers but it’s a popular mainstream genre compared to humour, the queue is longer – The Teleporter stands out in genre which is probably one of the main reasons it got chosen. Plus it’s good, fu***ng good and seeing as this is the second Bookbub featured it, they must like it also.

Reviews/ratings: Although the amount of reviews the book now has is much bigger, beforehand it was 20ish which means it’s had some readership and those reviews were from the year of release all the way to recently. Recent and old reviews together show a longevity of readership.

Investment of money: Bookbub charged me over $200 for this featured deal and if you are serious about promoting books you need to invest serious money.

Concluding thoughts…

If I can get myself a Bookbub featured deal and 10,000 plus downloads then you certainly can and everything above is proof of that. Never before has my authoring profile been thrown in front of so much exposure and for that I am grateful above everything else. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotion and as I take a deep sighing breath of satisfaction, to me it was worth it. From the initial explosion of sales to the aftermath and even lessons learned and then the second aftermath, what a ride. This was my most important promotion moment as an author and it will hopefully be a huge turning point. Only time will tell.

The wonderful thing about this promotion is that it has proved indie authors who have a platform can also be given a voice and be successful. This featured deal was a victory for all of us indies and I’m incredibly proud of how it went. The best outcome is the fact my soon to be published authoring and blogging guide book had one section left blank to be written, it was a section that was going to explain my most recent book promotion efforts. Guess I better get writing!

If you do have any questions then please do drop them in the comments and for everything else book promo do check out my book which is currently available for discounted pre-order. It is full of marketing guides and resources for authors.

To everyone who has supported me as an author and blogger, thank you and to those who have read this post, I tip my cap to you! Peace out and may the words be with you…

January Reading Wrap-up

January went kind of quickly this time around. Well it did to me because time flies when you’re in a good book and so here’s what I read…

‘Civil Blood: The Vampire Rights Case That Changed a Nation’ by Chris Hepler

In this different take on Vampires Chris Hepler delivers and immerses readers into a biological/political world where those with the vamp pathogen have certain rights. There’s espionage feels paired with the concept of vampires in entirely new territory…

You can check out my full review here…

One Line Review:

An alternative but realistic take on vampires with sharp political and biological edges…”

Rating: 4 Stars

‘The Word of the Rock God’ by Brooklynn Dean

Life on the road in a small venue rock and roll band paired with a tale of biblical level temptation – yes please. Brooklynn Dean delivers with a uniquely immersive writing style that’ll encapsulate and provoke your thoughts. It’s different but well worth a read.

Here’s my full review….

One Line Review:

“An intimately descriptive fable that merges rock and roll with a powerful message…

Rating: 5 Stars

‘Husband for Rent’ by Kristina Gallo

Kristina Galllo tells a gritty story that could easily compare to a soap opera but with way more bite about multiple characters all on the fringes of the underworld. There’s deception, threat and even murder. A short but gripping read.

Full review…

One Line Review:

“A tale full of twisting suspense about those on the fringes of society…”

Rating: 4 Stars

‘Deadly Odds’ by Allen Wyler

For a story about one nerd looking to make it with a woman it goes deep into the criminal/terrorism underworld. Allen Wyler’s style kept me turning pages and wanting to know more about Arnold Gold who starts out with holding back the truth but for good reason…

Here’s my full review….

One Line Review:

He’s in deep with the big fishes and the odds are hardly in his favour…

Rating: 4 Stars

‘Moojag and the Auticode Secret’ by N.E. McMorran

Neurodiversity takes centre stage in this colourful unique tale where N.E McMorran sets a fine example of awareness and inclusion while also telling an entertaining story. There aren’t many books like this one and for the wonderful message it stands for its worth reading and applauding.

Here’s my review…

One Line Review:

“Colourful and imaginative with a positive message about being different…”

Rating: 5 Stars

And so that wraps things up for last months reads. Thanks for stopping by, see y’all in the next one….

‘The Ghost of Whitmore Manor’ by Sarah Jayne Harry – Review

A breezy paranormal romance with a young adult edge…

For a short book Sarah Jayne Harry has managed to deliver a satisfying story with a range of themes with an easy to read writing style. There’s a young adult vibe from the very start as ‘Charlotte’; a paranormal sceptic is dared to spend the night in an abandoned manor house. It’s spooky and descriptive from sight to smell and we even get a harrowing backstory of the place – some elements of this book do go to dark places and this is mentioned beforehand but only for a short while and it’s not exploitative but necessary for plot and eventual resolve. On this night our main character and narrator comes across ‘Lewis’ a ghost which she befriends. This friendship in turn becomes something more.

We also see ‘Charlotte’s’ home life where her over protective and abusive Father casts a shadow over everything while the pressure of succeeding in school is ever present. There are other characters in this story, even if they are smaller parts they contribute to the wider picture. Soon this picture culminates with a choice or suggestion that ‘Lewis’ makes and an ending perfect for the genre. I would have liked to of seen perhaps a little more between ‘Lewis’ and ‘Charlotte’ but for a short read which most will complete in one sitting, it makes for a perfect spooky season experience.

4 Stars – Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon