Hall of Information Interviews: Marc Cavella

The exploration of unique voices in story telling has returned with another Hall of Information Interview. Fellow author and story-teller Marc Cavella shares an insight into his world, from writing all the way to the niche but ever so interesting subject of politics in pro wrestling.

Q1. Let’s jump right in and start with writing. Where did story telling begin for Marc Cavella?

The first thing I really remember sharing with a bigger group was a class assignment that I wrote in sixth grade. We had to write a fake advertisement for a product we’d created. I ended up writing an ad about a machine that administered corporal punishment to children so parents wouldn’t feel guilty about doing it themselves, and it got a huge laugh from the class. (Bear in mind that we were sixth graders.) I remember that even our teacher was crying with laughter (and yet she still only gave it a B+). That’s probably when I first learned that something I wrote could have a cool effect on people.

Q2. Your latest book draws influence from an interesting subject– the politics of professional wrestling. This is a unique basis for a story and one I found highly enjoyable as fan of wrestling and reader. Please tell us more about ‘The Ballad of Ricky Risotto’ and what influenced the story?

“I’ve always been a huge fan of pro wrestling. I used to watch every show I could find when I was a kid—WCCW on ESPN when I would come home from school in the afternoons, WCW and NWA on the weekends, and all the old WWF shows like Superstars, Main Event, and Shotgun Saturday Night. So I’ve pretty much been watching wrestling for as long as I can remember—and I was an especially big mark for guys like Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, The Four Horseman, and the von Erichs.

At the same time, I’ve always been the kind of person who wanted to learn about the history of the things I liked. So as I got older and the “business” became more exposed via the internet, and later, social media, I started to dig a little deeper into wrestling’s past: The people who ran those old regional promotions like Jim Crockett and Verne Gagne, how the old territories worked and competed with each other, and how the business itself had evolved from the carnival circuits that ran shows around the country at the turn of the century.

So all of that together really served to influence the story and let me combine a bunch of different aspects into one piece. I enjoyed the opportunity to write it.”

Interesting, as a kid and teen I was drawn to watching wrestling, it made for great entertainment and escapism. Today much like you I enjoy the political element just as much.

Q3. I think we can agree the more prolific days of pro wrestling are behind us but that won’t stop us from looking back. Are there any moments or stand out personas that you have been drawn to over the years? What names would consider to be all-time greats that would perhaps make up a ‘Mount Rushmore’ of the industry?

Man, that’s a great question. I was always a big fan of tag-team wrestling. The Hart Foundation was definitely my favorite, even though I couldn’t stand Jimmy Hart when I was a kid. (I have a great appreciation for him now, though.) I also loved teams like Legion of Doom and Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard.

The Legion of Doom

Stand-out moments for me will always include The Ultimate Warrior vs. The Honky Tonk Man at SummerSlam in 1988. I loved The Ultimate Warrior as a kid and when I heard that music and Gorilla Monsoon’s famous call of the match, I yelled so loud that my mother came in to the living room to see if I was okay. Watching The Undertaker toss Mick Foley off the top of the cage at Hell in a Cell is something I’ll always remember, too. I was watching that show with some friends, and I remember looking around the room and seeing everyone’s faces just absolutely frozen in shock and surprise. I didn’t think he’d survived that fall, and then he goes on to get thrown through the top of the cage and down onto the mat. Insane.

The famous Hell in a Cell match between the Undertaker and Mick Foley

As far as my wrestling Mt. Rushmore goes, the first name that comes to mind is Ric Flair, obviously, seeing as he was the biggest draw of an entire era and he was the total prototype for what a modern wrestler should be—fantastic at all aspects of technical wrestling, but one of the best promos of all time and a masterful storyteller. Bret Hart is always going to be up there for me, too. I read something recently that said he’d never injured an opponent in the ring, and yet his offense still looked stiff and believable. I think you’d have to put Hulk Hogan on there, as unpopular as he is with a large segment of the wrestling community, simply because of how big a star he was and how he helped to raise the industry’s profile so much during the 80’s boom. And as much as I want to say Andre the Giant or The Fabulous Moolah (as controversial as she is), I think you can make a case that Chris Jericho belongs up there as well, given that he’s had long runs as the top guy in multiple promotions working a variety of different styles for about twenty-five years now.

Great memories and moments. Of course I agree with all the names mentioned, that hell in a cell match is something I always use introduce those who have never watched wrestling before, it normally hooks them in…

Q4. And just briefly what’s your take on the current wrestling industry?

“The current generation is probably the most athletically talented, but I just can’t get into it like I used to. I think it’s gotten too bland for my tastes, to be honest. I don’t need a steady diet of chair shots and barbed wire, but once WWF became a publicly traded company, the corporatization really kicked in and it became very milquetoast to me as a whole. There are still some wrestlers who do great work both in the ring and on the mic, though.

Q5. Let’s talk books. Do you have any other works currently available and what can we expect next in terms of writing from Marc Cavella?

My first novel, “Tabernacle”, is available on Amazon and all other major outlets. “Tabernacle” tells the story of Edward Jones, an incredibly successful salesman who sells a product that none of his clients actually wants. I like to describe it as sort of a genre mash-up—it’s a dark comedy, but it’s also literary fiction with some suspense, noir, and neo-Western elements to it as well. It’s gotten some very nice reviews so far and I’m always glad when people tell me they enjoyed it. John Cena and Alexa Bliss make very brief cameos in it, so it has some ties to the wrestling world as well.

I’m currently working on some sequels. “Place the Flowers” follows Edward Jones as he eases into family life (sort of), but not without his own gritty twist to it. And I’m working “The Man from Coronado,” which focuses on Lance Sacramento, one of the wrestlers who appears in “The Ballad of Ricky Risotto.” I’m hoping to make a trilogy out of those wrestling-based novellas and release them as a paperback anthology in the summer of 2021.

Sounds like you have some awesome projects lined up for next year.

Here’s my recent review of ‘The Ballad of Ricky Risotto’

Check out Marc’s Amazon page here

Q6. What interests do you have outside of writing?

I love reading, certainly. I’m also a huge history buff, as mentioned previously, and that extends to lots of different topics beyond wrestling and sports. I’m very interested in military history—I love going to the national battlefield parks we have here in America, especially the ones dedicated to the U.S. Civil War—and I’m lucky enough to live in an area that has a lot of Revolutionary War battlefields and museums, too, so I try to go to those whenever I can. I also enjoy poker and other card games as well and spent way too much time in casinos when I was in my mid-twenties.

Q7. Tea, Coffee, beer or wine?

Coffee, personally. But even that’s a rarity. I tried to get into wine for a while but I don’t think my palate is sophisticated enough.

Excellent choice, my problem is I like all 4…

Q8. Do you have a favourite movie or go-to television series? Feel free to name a few and why?

My favorite movies are Goodfellas and Rocky. (I’ll argue to this day that the original Rocky is completely underrated, even though it won Best Picture.) They’re just very well-written stories about people who are on the edges of society, and I’m always a sucker for stories like that. Back to School starring Rodney Dangerfield is one of my favorite movies of all time as well and one that I quote way too often, as is Back to the Future. I also think Predator is a fantastic movie. People look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that, but it’s actually an excellent sci-fi/suspense movie. As far as TV shows, I’ll go with my staples: Seinfeld and Frasier.

Great movies! Especially Goodfellas and Back to the Future although all you have mentioned are from an awesome era in cinema. I find myself quoting Predator a lot these days and Frasier of course is my go-to sitcom!

Q9. A hot topic over on Twitter these days, do you have any must read book recommendations?

I’ll always recommend “The Sun Also Rises”—Hemingway at his best. And Robert Graysmith’s “Zodiac” is one of the scariest nonfiction books of all time. If you dislike either sleeping or feeling safe, you should definitely read it.

Both excellent choices – the Zodiac film is a hidden gem also!

Q10. And lastly, a question I ask all interviewees. If there is one sentence of advice you give to someone with dreams of becoming a writer, what would you say?

“It’s going to be an incredibly challenging, difficult, and unpredictable road, but you can definitely succeed at it if you never give up.”

Wonderful advice and a great interview. Thank you Marc Cavella for taking the time to give us an insight into your world.

You can find Marc over on the Tweet machine and check out his awesome site where you can find out more.

And so the bell rings on another Hall of Information Interview. Thank you for joining us. See you in the next one!

Happy Halloween! ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ is FREE Today Only!

Wishing you all a safe and happy Halloween. Wherever you are I hope it’s a spooky one.

To celebrate the culmination of spooky season my 5th book ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ is Free to download today only. I’ve been waiting nearly a year to promote this ghostly tale that marked one hell of a milestone for me and a return to releasing books after nearly walking away from writing…

‘Ghost’ is a diary style tale account about one soul who spends his days introverted and tormented by loneliness until a ghostly companion begins to try and make contact. Eventually they become more than acquaintances in what is a short but powerful tale of love, life and death. It can be read in just a few sittings or even just one; perfect for the spookiest night of the year. You can find the various links below:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Amazon India

Amazon Australia

Book Promotion Results September 2020 Pt2 – ‘This time it’s literal….’

Ah promoting the books, I’ve done this a lot recently and we’re back again to share methods, results and all things about the promotion of books. This is also a sequel to another post I put out at the start of the month and this time it’s literal…let’s dive in!

The aim of this post/who is this for…

The main aim of this post is to share results of a recent book promo run by informing other authors how I did it. This is with a hope they can use this info to sell some books. Much of this stuff can be applied to books that are stand alone, series, fiction or non and for all authors of every level – the self help guide book is coming next year… For those not interested in the full detail or a recap from last time just skip down to the actual start of this post…

Previously…

To set the scene, at the beginning of this month I promoted the e version of my thriller/horror ‘Cemetery House’ by making it available for free via Amazon. My main aim consisted of two objectives in this promo run:

1. To get as many free downloads for the book as possible + some discounted sales after.

2. To promote the wider ‘Order of the Following Series‘ it is a part of. The next book in this series (Darke Awakening) drops at the end of this month.

The results of this promo run were unexpected and again quite good. While I have shared the results in the previous post the numbers have gotten a little better since.

A good promo run will give books long term visibility after and drive sales, sometimes these sales come days or weeks later.

As you can see the initial numbers were good…

Updated numbers from part 1…

Free downloads of ‘Cemetery House’ during this run

1,838

Sales of ‘Cemetery House’ after the run @ 99 cents:

6

Sales of other books in the series during and after the run

62

Sales of other books in my backlist

3

Part 2 actually starts here…

Okay so part 2 and book promo run 2 of September 2020 would see the overall aim widen slightly, and with all book promotion runs it’s important to set out a clear aim from the start. Lessons from promo 1 meant that we know when advertising a book that is part of a series, the other books in that series will probably sell also. This time around, the newest book in the series set for release at the month’s end was also available for pre order.

Aims of this promo

The aims of this promo were as follows:

1. To get as many free downloads for ‘Darke Blood’ a vampire occult thriller which is part of the wider Order of the Following series.

It’s not free currently, this is here just to display the banner I used…

2. To get as many sales for other books in the series which are discounted @ 99 cents or equivalent in major Amazon markets.

3. To drive attention towards the next book in the series ‘Darke Awakening’ which is also a direct sequel to the book being promoted for free and will be available to pre order at the time of promo and the hope is to actually get some pre orders.

Strategy – how was I going to do it?

Like the previous promo this book would also be available for free through two days but this time on a Friday and Saturday (18th and 19th of September). My choice to use Saturday was to coincide the promo with Twitter’s #Shamelessselfpromosaturday which in recent times has driven a lot more traffic and attention to my posts. The writing community of twitter is something you should plug into, especially for promotion and engaging with other like minded writers. My following is above 4k and so this works as a good free boost. You can see the results and what that tweet looks like below.

Of course one method of social media is not enough to amplify my voice to tell the world this book is out there and free so I would also put out a post on my Facebook page to 500 likers and a blog post to nearly 500 followers on the 2nd day.

He’ still in pain, like most authors

My main point of attack in this promo would be as usual to use a range of paid and free book promotion websites that advertise a book using extensive mailing lists and their own sites to reach readers.

Results

Lets look at how it went, then I can share which promo sites I used and what factors of success were…

Day 1

Darke Blood reached #3 in the Amazon UK Occult chart.

Day 2

Darke Blood reached #1 in the Amazon US Folk tales/ Myth collections chart.

Day 3

6 of the ‘Darke Blood’ sales on this day were free downloads that overlapped while 6 were sales at 99 cents.

The best moment of Day 3 was a single pre-order came through for ‘Darke Awakening’ which means that all three aims were now ticked.

Analysis/Factors of success

This was a decent promotional run with exceptional sales of other books in the series most of which were from the US. There was a time when I had only sold 13 or so books in the US and now that figure has been blown wide open. To get a pre order for a brand new release is also huge, although it’s only 1, it’s better than zero!

Factor 1

A huge factor in getting all of these sales and the pre order is listing the books in a series together via Amazon. This boosts visibility big time, especially when one of them is free!

Sub Factor of Factor 1

Just before the promo I did a little sneaky and amended the blurb of ‘Darke Blood’ on Amazon…. This is what I put before the blurb…

Coming September 30th – the next book in the Order of the Following Series – ‘Darke Awakening’ Pre Order Available Now!

Factor 2

At the time of the promotion the 3 books in the series had reviews/ratings in the two major Amazon territories (UK and US). Established books with some reviews always do well when given away for free and those that weren’t free had a good amount of reviews also which helped. Reviews and ratings are useful for selling books as they tell a reader how good/bad a book can be. Getting reviews takes time and so do numbers like this…

This is a stock image, not from my books….

Factor 3

Price is a huge factor in this whole deal and I’m not just referring to everyone liking a freebie. The two other books are both priced at 99 cents or equivalent and this helped, perhaps if they were priced higher they would have been downloaded less.

Factor 4

The promo of ‘Cemetery House’ which was covered in part 1 resulted in 4 new ratings on Amazon soon after which directly effected the decent sales of it during this run. This is proof that one promo run can help another.

Geographical Factor

For this promo I used a few sites that are UK based and this directly drove more sales in that territory.

Basic factors

Great looking professional book covers, investing money and a social media following are all factors that help books get sold. These days I also use book banners which I made myself but for a little money you can probably get some made professionally and they are a nice little touch.

Final Figures

As you can see the two free promos side by side. The first one was indeed more successful and the top factor for that was labour day weekend in the US – people were looking to probably enjoy their weekend with a book or two.

The graphic below with free sales removed looks all the more impressive. Not only does it show paid sales after and during the promo but to date this is the best month of sales I have ever had in nearly 5 years of being published. Context: Upon release of Book 1 ‘Open Evening’ it sold 41 copies in the first month…

Book Promo sites

This whole deal sits on the shoulders of paid advertising and book promotion sites who help amplify that voice so folks can hear you shouting about your work. These are the ones I used:

Bookbongo – Cost $5

Ebook Booster – Cost $20

Bookrunes Cost – $25

Freebooksy (Thriller promo) – Cost $40

Bookzio – FREE

Book Hippo – FREE

Book angel – FREE

As you can see I invested less money for this promo which may have effected it’s overall success but I’m only willing to spend so much..

Final thought

Traction takes time when it comes to books. Over the years I’ve learned a bunch and partially mastered all of the factors that go into selling them. I still firmly believe the best way to market and sell a book is to write another and another until you have a backlist, so keep going writers! Whether or not a book is part of a wider series doesn’t seem to matter.

Getting that one pre order made the whole thing a little sweeter, selling a brand new title is hard especially when it’s the 4th book in a series but the launch is hopefully bolstered by that handful of pre orders. The purpose of this promo was to help establish more readers for that series, did we accomplish that? Time will only tell…

Thanks for taking the time to read, I hope you got something out of this post that will help your writing and book promotion journey. Peace out!

Bookbub Ads – an abject failure

Here at the Hall of Information we are always on the look-out for proven techniques that work on the subject of book promotion. Even though this operation is small, we still try our best to pass on all experiences and results, good or bad for the greater good of fellow wordsmiths looking to get their work out into the wider world. Well it was only a matter of time until a bad one came along, or shall we say a ‘not so good’ one. Right now I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed…

This week I took a dive into the complicated, convoluted world of Bookbub advertising. Now first let me determine that this is not the ‘featured deal’ advertising you can apply for which they will probably reject, but in fact another service via their ‘partners’ site. Anyone can pretty much sign up and get advertising straight away or so they say. 

You are asked to fill in boxes with your book’s URL, and the whole thing is pretty standard if you are comparing to other advertisers. But then it gets a little complicated as you are asked to find an audience who will potentially click on what is essentially a thumbnail sized pop up that will appear in their inboxes the next time Bookbub sends them a circular. This is essentially what the advert is, a small pop up of your cover and 60 characters to hook someone into clicking on it. Did I hook someone? Anyone? Just one person? Find out below…

It isn’t really explained whether broad or specific audiences are preferable. Specific would target individuals most likely to buy I suppose? When I reached the green area it suggested I’m on track (unlike the example below) and so after putting a few Darke Blood related author tags and genres into this targeting thing, it seemed to be happy.

borad

Next you are asked about date ranges, budget and then of course more complicated things known as ‘Bid’ which is an impressions based of clicks budget – again very convoluted for the layman author looking to sling a few ebooks. I selected a continuous option because the ambition in me just imagined the sales rolling in…

So after fudging around with the figures – figures I cannot show you because Bookbub have already deleted the campaigns I put on pause – I was ready to go. My first campaign looked a little like this…

Daily Budget $15 

Bid ‘CPM’ Budget $9ish 

_________________________________________________________________________________

dfw-lh-db-cover-ebook

 

There are more than shadows lurking in the darkness…

(Imagine a jazzy background)

 

 

Buy now

 

 

______________________________________________________________________________________

I guran-damn-tee somebody who stumbles upon this here post, even in ten years time will click on that buy now button, but when my ad ran for 24 hours, with over 200 impressions, not one person clicked on it…

Ok, so maybe it was me, not being able to navigate the system probably. So the very next day I tried again, and changed a few things. By lunchtime I was done. No clicks and me left wondering what I did wrong, like everyday… I don’t have time to figure out over complicated advertisement algorithms, and maybe you do, but I’ve got books to write.

My total spend on this abject failure was $17.69 and I know for a fact I can get book sales for less than that. In fact I have, with my Bookbub featured deal last year I spent $86.00 and sold 66 books that day. But the many other promo sites I’ve used have given me a way better return.

My advice would be to go elsewhere. Of course my book promo lists/results can be found in the many posts I have put out there previously. Here are a couple of recents:

Book Promo Results March 2020

Book Promo Results September 2019

Final Thought: 

Straight after I was done failing at Book bub ads, I cobbled together this little mock up via an online photo shop site. Seeing as I just got a fresh review, I quoted it and then put it up on the Tweet machine.

Image

As you can see the results are 3 times better than bookbub ads, and not a dime was spent…

tweet

The moral of the story, not all advertisers work, and neither do I… Be wise with your money and don’t just dive into something…

Book Promo Results March 2020

The numbers and results are in! Even though we live in a world that appears to grow rather uncertain by the day, here at the Hall of Information it is business as usual!

Image result for book sales

One of the core values that I pride myself with as an indie author is to help fellow wordsmiths and hopefully guide them to some level of book promotional enlightenment. Let’s face it, every author charges towards their dream starry eyed and is then demoralised by the promotion part – telling people your book exists is the single greatest struggle we have as creators. 

So here are the facts and figures: 

Darke Blood was scheduled to be free to download on both Thursday the 12th and Friday the 13th of March – you can do this is in KDP if you enrol your title in KDP select and clicking on the ‘promote and advertise’ button next to your title on your book shelf (google it if you are unsure)

 Total downloads of that two day run: 

book promo march 20

Total: 

db numbers

We reached countries and territories never reached before like Italy, Spain and even Japan!

But wait there’s more: 

During this run, I also sold copies of my other books Open Evening and Cemetery House at full price and which are in the same ‘Order of the Following’ Series…. This now confirms the readership know that they are set in the same world – a huge challenge I currently face!

dfw-lh-3dx2

When the promo ended people were still buying Darke Blood at the full price and so here’s a break down of those sales and the for the one’s above..

organic sale

During the free promo Darke Blood went to #1 in all three of it’s charts on Amazon and has got it some much needed visibility.

How did I get these results? 

Book Promo sites:

My philosophy for higher reach is to pay for some of it. There are a great number of book promo sites out there who specialise in reaching readers. Over the years I have compiled a list of those who have worked well and those who haven’t. This time around I only used two major book promo sites and paid a little more than I usually would.

On previous promos I have used many different sites at once for smaller fees, this is known as ‘stacking’ but for this one I used:

Freebooksy ‘Thriller Promotion’ – for the 12th, this cost £72 

E Reader News Today ‘Thriller and Suspense Promo’ – for the 13th, this cost £32

For the money I spent I consider this promo run a success. It’s isn’t a record breaker but it’s enough!

Other factors: 

Recently my Twitter following reaching 3000 – here’s how I did it

My blog following nearing 500 – I put out a post on the day!

Weekdays work well for promos….

People are staying in – for obvious reasons they will want something to read and everyone loves a bargain…

Darke Blood is pretty looking book. Trust me, people do judge them by their covers!

That wraps up another book promo results, have you done any promo work recently? 

dfw-lh-db-cover-ebook

‘Darke Awakening’ the 6th book by Lee Hall; coming this year!

 

Darkness. The blackest of the black. Not being able to see and all that. Yeah some of you have heard that speech before and this isn’t my first venture into the lightless void of the unknown. All of us look into the dark differently but we always see two things. Nothing, and everything. Fear fills the gap between what isn’t there, and what could be. And you’re thinking, how artsy and self-reflective, we all know this story isn’t. Drown someone in shadows and eventually they make their own light to find a way. That’s what I did, Blake Malone, the name I adopted as a reminder of what I have fought for and who I stood alongside. Luckily for you, that fight isn’t over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Promo Results September 2019

At the Hall of Information we believe that sharing is caring. Especially when it comes to book promotion methods and results. We don’t keep secrets from fellow authors in fact we promote helping the efforts of others in every possible way. We’re all crawling through the shit storm of life together so we might as well help each other right?

Here are the official results of my latest book promotion that ran last week and more importantly how I got them…

Brief interlude… 

dfw-lh-db-cover-ebook

For 2019 one of my top objectives was to get more exposure for my vampire novel ‘Darke Blood’. The plan always was to make the e-version free to download in September and so I did that – (beginners you can make any title free for a brief time via Kindle Direct Publishing as long as it is enrolled in KDP select (ask the google for more info) )

Like my usual book promo runs, I set ‘Darke Blood’ to be free from Wednesday to Friday – how you arrange days may have some effect on sales. Weekend dates can be good sometimes, Sundays have worked well previously but I normally adopt the weekday method.

The last time I had made ‘DB’ free was back in February of 2018, so it’s been a while, the results back then were north of 1000 downloads. So taking into account it had been a while and the fact my readership has grown since then along with the accumulation of a few more reviews I had some optimism that ‘DB’ would do quite well.

Side note: Vampire stories are no way dead (no pun intended), even after the monstrosity that was Twilight, they are still a pretty popular niche, trust me. And I salute anyone who enjoys stories of this genre along with those who write them! 

Results

During the promotional run ‘Darke Blood’ was downloaded 3,402 times!

All previous free promotional records were broken on the Wednesday. (Day 1)

With reference to the below screen grabs you can see things jumped up a notch in the space of an hour on day 1.

 

Screenshot_2019-09-25-16-41-08

 

Screenshot_2019-09-25-16-46-54
Screenshot_2019-09-25-17-28-19

Screenshot_2019-09-25-19-36-00

This is without mentioning the chart placement it got over on Amazon US.

Not once or twice but THRICE charts… This is a big tip for those looking to get more eyes on your books. There are plenty of charts out there that aren’t as ‘busy’ or populated making it easier climb and get number 1 or even ‘best seller’ status…

Screenshot_2019-09-25-22-25-47

 

By the close of Day 1 ‘Darke Blood’ came near to 3000 downloads but I had to settle for 2,933 – an impressive feat.

Day’s two and three were less impressive but still commendable with 369 and 97 respectively pushing the total past 3000 in total but on day 3 it wasn’t the only book of mine up for grabs!

tp numbers

I sneakily set my super hero comedy novella ‘The Teleporter’ for free on Day 3. And the booziest hero of them all stole the day with a total of 88 units downloaded.

This is impressive because I hardly promoted ‘The Teleporter’ apart from a cheeky Facebook ad and other social media shout outs.

So overall in 3 days my books were downloaded 3,402 times!

How I got these results and factors which governed them… 

Every book is different, and the success of a free promotional run is governed by a ton of factors such as:

Amount of reviews good or bad – having all good reviews for a title isn’t necessary a good thing, in fact ‘Darke Blood’ is one of my most subjective books, it’s rating isn’t exactly the highest which may have helped.

Recent reviews – If your title has some recent reviews, people know it’s recently been read, I’ve had the luck of getting some higher profile reviews this year for ‘DB’ from awesome bloggers Thinking Moon  Mullen Crafts and Feed the Crime – this helped big time!

Current Events – Only days before putting ‘DB’ up for free I pondered via a blog post about whether or not the sequel will ever see the light of day. This post unintentionally stirred up some interest. And yes the sequel will be happening in 2020.

Timing – The transition from Summer to Autumn brings the promise of Halloween, folks love a spiced latte and a good spooky book to read; ‘Darke Blood’ is just that and another top tip for anyone writing horror, thriller or occult – I have made the most sales of these genres in September! People love the build up to Halloween!

Following – As opposed to last year my following is way bigger, people won’t buy your book if they don’t know about it, this may be the greatest lament and struggle of all authors everywhere. This blog has been nominated for 4 awards this year and we now have 400 plus followers. My Tweet machine following is in the high 2000’s – way more than last year.

Investment – If you want a book to sell, for free or at a price, you have to invest money in doing so…

So how exactly did I get 3000 plus downloads? With the above combined factors and my big secret… Book promotion websites – this isn’t really a secret.

How do book promo sites work? Essentially you pay them to tell people about your promo –  they all boast to have access to several thousand followers via email and social media so you are simply paying to use this mode of distribution and the truth is, it works! There are even some sites who take on submissions for free.

My tip when dealing with such sites is to always pay via paypal.

The whole concept with using promo sites is to ‘stack’ the promotion by using multiple sites over the days…

The big secret – Book Promo websites  (paid and unpaid)

I invested around $100 for this promo – probably the most I have ever spent. It sounds like a lot but the results were awesome and worth it.

Here’s a list of sites I used.

Paid:

https://www.freebooksy.com/for-the-authors/   – Promoted on Wednesday

https://pretty-hot.com/submit-your-book/       – Promoted on Thursday

https://awesomegang.com/submit-your-book/    – Promoted on Thursday

Free Sites:

https://discountbookman.com/book-promotion/   – Promoted on Wednesday

http://www.free99books.com/author/add – Promoted on Friday

https://www.bookzio.com/promote-your-book-2/ – Promoted on all 3 days

http://bookangel.co.uk/  – Promoted on all 3 days

http://www.ebooklister.net/submit.php – Promoted on all 3 days

https://ebookshabit.com/ – Promoted on all 3 days

http://bookbongo.com/submit/  – Promoted on all 3 days

Other methods of promo – Facebook 

There are other ways to spread the word about a promotion. Amazon offer their own ad service which I didn’t find much success with previous and even though Facebook aren’t the most reputable bunch they do have access to a lot of people if you place an ad with them.

I boosted two of my posts from my main author page and as you can see ‘DB’ did quite well. The ad set up in FB is pretty complex and detailed but if you can figure it out you can target the right folks.

It’s especially effective for free promotions, convincing people to vote Brexit and getting Trump into power… I deleted my FB app last year for a while, it did me the world of good, even now I don’t look at FB that much. But all satire and opinions aside, the ‘DB’ promo did quite well.

Screenshot_2019-09-29-14-58-23

Outlook…

The hope is that some folks now read Darke Blood and then leave a review. The KENP page read tracker is already showing numbers and I have since sold more books.

For those looking to take on more of my work both ‘Open Evening’ and ‘Cemetery House’ will be available for free sometime in the next month or a little after.

If you missed the free run of Darke Blood or The Teleporter get in touch and I shall send the e version out to you for free in exchange for a review!

dfw-lh-3dx2

And so that wraps up my latest book promotional efforts. Let me take this opportunity to thank everyone for sharing the links, leaving reviews and helping the efforts of your friendly independently published author! 

Remember to leave a review!

 

Bookbub Featured Deal Promo Results

Yes fellow scientists, the results are in! Even though most of us aren’t actually scientists we shall adopt their method of recording the findings of all experiments and these include book promotion efforts. 

As most of you know The Teleporter was selected by book bub to be featured for 1 day and advertised at a discounted price in Canada, UK, India and Australia. Here are the results of that deal.

The figures: 

The Bookbub featured deal cost: $86  

Here are the results: 

teleporter sales

On the day of the promo The Telporter was downloaded 62 times, I also picked up sales for every one of my other books making July 1st 2019 my best ever day in book sales

I even managed to shift 2 paperbacks! 

Outlook for the future: 

Even though the figures were high they weren’t enough to tip the profit scale, but that’s okay, I an indie author, profit is a rare thing and I’m in the business of getting my stuff out there, money will come later…. And it’s still early because here are the KENP reading figures

kenp

This graphic shows people reading the Teleporter for 7 days straight, another groundbreaking record! 

numero 2.PNG

Over in the Canadian charts The Teleporter peaked at Number 2 only being bested by the audio book of Good Omens! If there were a few more sales at that time it probably would have reached numero uno but I’m taking second to Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett!  

Final thought:

Was it worth it?

A resounding yes. Next time and I hope there will be a next time I am going to ‘stack’ my promotional efforts by using other book promo sites at the same time. You can check out a list of those here in my nifty book promotion 2019 guide

Either way The Teleporter which 2019 is becoming the year of, got out there in all 4 of the countries it was advertised. Of course these are the results only a week after the promotion, so the long term results are yet to be apparent. I’m hoping to see a few more reviews and hopefully some more sales.

Tip of the cap to everyone who grabbed a copy of the booziest hero out there!

 

 

How I landed a deal with Bookbub!

As an author you probably don’t have to go far from the Google to find out what Bookbub is. For those not in the know, Bookbub is referred to as the ‘holy grail’ of book promotion sites and even more so for readers because it’s probably the most prestigious book connector site out there. And what’s even better is that they near enough guran-damn-tee returns on their investments…

From very early in my indie author career I tried and tried to land a promotion deal with them. Those lucky enough to land a deal report of crazy amounts of sales and even huge returns on the investment of a Bookbub promo. Just looking at some of the ‘requirements’ for acceptance is pretty damn intimidating, with some even boasting you need 50 plus reviews, but…

Its all about looking the part and persistence…

None of my books have anywhere near the dizzy heights of what is perceived as a requirement amount of reviews BUT the reduced amount of reviews in comparison I do have are mainly positive and diversely ranged from bloggers, readers and even people I do not know. There are reviews on Amazon UK, US, Canada and even AUS which reflects my initial efforts in getting The Teleporter read and out there. Many of them even put their reviews up on Goodreads. There even a few reviews that are probably better than the book!

The cover artwork is second to none, like all of my stuff I invested in a great cover from some awesome folks called Design for Writers who have made all of my books look as good as any other author, pro or indie out there.

It’s also well edited and formatted by my awesome publisher. It simply looks the part from all angles and this is proof even small time indies like me can be taken seriously.

Above all I also never stopped applying. Every month or so I would submit a new deal to Bookbub and eventually they agreed to promote The Teleporter!

Standing out from the crowd…

There aren’t many super hero comedy books out there right now and there aren’t any called the The Teleporter. Like all of my books I have tried to title them in a way that is unique or sticks out from the crowd. So by submitting to Bookbub in the ‘humor’ category I think I set myself out from the crowd. In this world different is good, not the try hard to be different sort, just the naturally occurring different and that’s what the Teleporter is! Find a niche category and if everything else is aligned you may get chosen.

Combination of stuff…

There isn’t one sole reason why I got chosen by Bookbub. All of the above as a combination have led to this.

Reviewers have helped this book in a huge way along with the awesome writing community who helped promote it over the past year.

For anyone who did that, THANK YOU, this feels like our book and it’s going to the big dance and hopefully to a more mainstream audience. You folks can boast, if all goes well, that you read it before it was huge! 

You can expect to see The Teleporter available to download at a discounted price on the 1st of July 2019 across the following amazon territories: 

UK, CANADA, INDIA AND AUSTRALIA – It will be discounted elsewhere but the bookbub ad is for these places. I guess we have to wait for the US… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A guide to Book Promotion in 2019

Finding the right advice for Authors to promote their work takes more than consulting ‘the Google’ these days. I also know by putting the year in the title of this post will make it pretty much instantly out dated, but for the same reasons scholars recorded stuff back in the day, I aim to do the same, pass on my knowledge and findings to simply learn for the future (where there will be robots…) and I’m not a scholar but a proud Indie Author…

So here is my guide to Book Promotion in 2019.

First of all, much of the stuff in this post is taken from a very recent book promotion I did for my 3rd novel ‘The Teleporter’ which I made free to download via Kindle Direct Publishing. Many author folks will know that having a book for free does help, but there are so many factors as to why I got the results I did.

These results were as follows: 

tp promo results

Over the 4 days I set ‘The Teleporter’ free to download 817 people grabbed a copy! It even went to #1 in one of it’s amazon charts! 

Now let’s explore ‘the factors’ which drove this book to so many downloads…

Factor 1: Book Promotion Sites. 

Book Promotion sites are essential for spreading the word about your words existing; in fact, I would argue that telling people your stuff actually is out there may indeed be the biggest challenge any smaller time author faces and product awareness/distribution is what we are trying to achieve here! 

So as well as setting my book to be free on the dates I decided (about a month previous) I then set out to find some book promo sites who will list my book and send the info about it out to mailing lists. Many of them have certain criteria and some even charge but most don’t ask for a lot in terms of what the results could potentially be.

Here is the list of promo sites, I used this time around. Some I paid for promotions, and some I didn’t. I also staggered the promos to run on most of the days my book was free.

tp 1 year

A few years ago I compiled this list from a Goodreads group called ‘Support for Indie Authors’ a 14,000 strong collective of Indie minds who band together and share results from all sorts of indie related book stuff. I don’t contribute much to the group, I kind of just lurk… but there is a great amount of info on promo sites.

As you can see I only spent $10 this time around, and it also included an interview with Itswritenow which you can read here and yes on my spreadsheet document the heading of anniversary is in french (I can be pretentious like that, being published gives someone such licence to be…)

Factor 2: Established Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads

tp reviews

This is relatively simple, and there is no real sure fire way to get reviews unless the reader wants to leave one. But the 5 reviews ‘The Teleporter’ had at the time of it being free is a huge factor that drove downloads. People seem to trust something that’s been out a while and has a few reviews. Upon release I put this book up for free and only 35 or so people downloaded it. Sometimes a book just needs to be out there for a while. So if you were one of the people who read and reviewed it before last week, you helped sell it!

Factor 3: An established following

At this current time my following has never been bigger, and that should always be the case for anyone who is an active blogger and writer on social media (and sort of obvious). I have also picked up a bunch of new followers whom are yet to read any of my novels. So with that and combined with the book being free, many of the followers I have had recent interaction with came out in force.

How I got that following is complex and simple all at once. Firstly it takes some time to gather a good following of genuine people. Secondly you have to invest by interacting, leaving constructive comments by being genuine and supportive to others in the writing and blogging community. Be there for others in the same boat on the same voyage as you. I have met some incredible writers and bloggers by just being present on the writing community scene.

My following continues to rise as I review indie books, all books I have read this year have been indie books. Many authors will feel inclined to return the favor but that is something I never aimed for, I’m reviewing books from indies because I am one and I have to support them, plus it’s reading and I love reading.

Factor 4: Chancer’s luck #indieapril

For those who are advocates of my stuff, they will know many of my characters are kind of chancer’s and tend to luck out. They look like they are better than they actually are; why do I say that? Because I am a chancer myself and I always have been.

I thought it would be nice to put ‘The Teleporter’ up for free because its a year since publication and the last promo I did was way back in September for Open Evening. This just so happened to coincide with April and then a trending hashtag started spreading around called #indieapril

#indieapril was some genius idea by some literal genius because people started tweeting about it and their support for indies. Then they started asking for indie book links whilst my book was free! Now I normally have the luck of the three blind basta**’s but holy sh** this was an open goal. For a very long while my tactics to sharing my own book link had changed to not talking sharing it at all. So I had a field day! And ‘The Teleporter’ kicked nearly every other book’s ass, and it went up against some pretty big competition…

This is an example of what I dropped in many folks comments of the Tweet machine…

tweet example

When you are really selling something, people just need to know the important details. As you can see it’s snappy and to the point and also the truth. ‘The Teleporter’ is all of those things, apart from being free right now. Boozy undertones; it’s not all serious folks.

Factor 5: Other smaller things I did…

As well as doing all the promo things above I also put up a big ‘ol Teleporter themed blog post, saying it was free and other stuff. It drove some traffic to the blog and many of the followers of the blogging persuasion are relatively new, plus it was free so people take notice.

I don’t like to mention Facebook because I personally think they are assholes mostly, they are one of those Robocop level corporations who are probably reading this while sharpening Zuckerbergs terminator liquid metal style axe for a hand, hey Mark (waves slowly). I did put up a less than £10 boosted post. It may have helped sell a few copies and definitely a paperback which was someone I personally know so the results are inconclusive. My following is pretty good on my page, you are more than welcome to like it, link to the side somewhere over there >>>>>

Bonus factor: A back Catalogue

I currently have 4 books available which I got published in 2 years, that’s some high revolutions, foot down on the gas type of sh**. I’ve worked my ass off to get those out there and now I have, people take it seriously. It’s true when they say the more books you release the better chance you have, trust me, you got to churn out them stories!

cropped-4.jpg

Results:

The main result is the amount of times the book got downloaded, but there are also longer term results which are still coming in. Kindle Direct Publishing also track page reads (a bit creepy I know) and these are the most recent figures of people reading:

PAGES READ

You can also see somebody has taken on ‘Darke Blood’ also, good on ya, I’m liking that book more and more these days…

There has also been a new review of ‘The Teleporter’ via Goodreads!

tp goodreads rev

Conclusion:

If you’re an indie looking to get more reads, I recommend going free to download for a little while, the first thing I will say is that you are not whoring your stuff out, you are giving it to the world to enjoy and discover. I don’t do this for a living, maybe some day I will, but until then people can read my stuff for free.

Prepare and take your time, spend a few pennies and do the research in finding promo sites and creative ways to get the word out. Take a leap and you’ll never know unless you try.

Thanks for reading and thanks to everyone who downloaded ‘The Teleporter’. Rock and roll man!