Awesome Recommended Indie Reads #8

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

‘Sentinel: Galaxii Book 4’ by Christina Engela

Immersive and enjoyable space-sci fi…’

Full Review

‘A Still Life’ by Elliott Wink

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

Full Review

‘Dead of Winter’ by Antoinette McCormick 

‘It comes in the night…’

Full Review

Check out Lee Hall on Patreon

‘Fallout’ by Pat Griffith

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

Full Review

‘Where Darkness Meets Light’ by Sabrine Elouali

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

Full Review

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

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

Full Review

‘Pirate Sea’ by Kyler Kuehler 

A swashbuckling and sometimes brutal tale packed with action

Full Review

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

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

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

This is a well-written well-balanced story that follows Private Detective Rudy Parsons who takes on the case of a missing person after vivid vision. Gradually a strangeness unfolds that seems to be following Rudy as he tries to decipher what is happening whilst also tracking down this missing person in downtown San Francisco.

Just what is real and what isn’t? That vision seems to contain some truth as the events begin to unfold along with the intrigue. There’s heaps of mystery and atmosphere here and that is without mentioning the personality of Rudy who is a likeable narrator and even has a fitting catchphrase.

“My friends call me Rudy. My enemies call me Parsons…”

Having read this in just one sitting it left me wanting more and shorter reads can sometimes be lacking in any substance but not for this one as it appears to just be the tip of an iceberg very much worth exploring further. Very enjoyable.

5 Stars

‘Where Darkness Meets Light’ by Sabrine Elouali – Review

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

This is a rich collection of poetry that serves as a reflection of many themes that mainly surround dark and light. Some verses rhyme whilst others don’t but all of them have their own power whether it be poignant or even brief, poetry is a creative reflection of one’s inner thoughts and it can be impromptu or planned, I kind of gathered the vibes of both through the many poems by Sabrine Elouali which I enjoyed.

In particular, ‘Questions’ resonated with me and ‘Illusion’ which merely suggested some of the deeper thoughts that followed after reading them and that is the sign of any good writing, laying something out that evokes feeling, but the readers imagination is given freedom to do the rest. Having grabbed a digital copy of this collection for free, I’d say that’s more than a bargain for some great poetry.

5 Stars

‘Fallout’ by Pat Griffith – Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

Weekly Ramble #147

I’m gradually moving towards preparation for my 8th book release.

‘Darke Apocalypse’ should arrive in September or early October and represents the end of a series that has held my indie career together. Whilst my focus these days is more on content outside of books, I promised myself and the handful of readers who have read this series that I would release this one next.

The truth is, the content I now produce is a product of demand from my followers but sometimes when it comes to writing and creativity, I have to follow my own demand or wants. There is always work to be done when it comes to content, social media, blogging and everything else I do but to me, books are my home. That is also without mentioning the abundance of curveballs life seems to throw me at any given time, I guess that’s just life and it is always something I have found a way to manage. Time is precious and I have learned that spending it on myself is important, especially for my own mental health.

Although this book is the 5th in a series that not a lot of people have read, I am so damn proud of how much it has carried me and what it has given me in terms of learning experiences. To have a backlist of 8 books puts me in a wonderful position and so like I have said before, watch this space kind reader because I am sure you’ll be hearing much more quite soon!

Book Promotion Results – May 2022

The results are in for my latest book promotion efforts and loyal Rock Star Patrons got to see it before anyone else but now its available for all. Let us dive in!

The Plan

Its good to lay down a plan and my plan was simple this time around; to celebrate the one year anniversary of Consistent Creative Content being released by running a weekend price reduction promotion with a little paid advertising. Using a few different advertisers over a few days I even had the grand vision of the book reaching #1 and Best Seller status on Amazon. There were a few other promotional things planned for the weekend and run up to it also.

I’ve been eyeing up this anniversary for a little while now and so I booked my advertising at the end of April – some advertisers tend to get booked up so planning in advance always helps with that.

The Price Promotion would be $0.99 and run from Friday the 20th to Sunday the 22nd with the usual price being $3.99 – a considerable drop so I was hopeful for this one. A few days or a weekend is more than enough to run a price promotion, I tend to only run them in short bursts to create some urgency, plus after day 2 or 3 I run out of the energy required to keep tweeting about the same thing.

Advertisers

For the Friday I used Robin Reads and their $0.99 Non-Fiction Feature that cost $65

For the Saturday I used E Reader News Today ($55) and Bargain Booksy ($35)

(Give these sites a Google if you want to find out more)

These advertisers I have used previously and generally bring good results. As you can see they have a cost which is something that you need to be prepared to do if you want serious results.

The wonderful thing is I paid for this advertising with the royalties I’ve earned so far this year from book sales.

For many years, I’ve run these promotions at a loss but there have been other returns in the form of Amazon chart movement, reviews, further sales, social media follows and new readers. Plus this isn’t my day job, so there is no pressure to earn actual money.

Other Promotional Things

To tie in with the anniversary I put together a reflective blog post about the first year of Consistent Creative Content and I also released a special presentation of yours truly narrating some of the book which was made free to listen.

These other promotional things tend to help just a little and the more platforms you are active on, the better chance you have of reaching just a few extra potential readers. So in theory, the more you do, the better chance of reach.

My initial plan was to keep things discreet on Twitter until the Saturday because the platform tends to figure out that I would be trying to sell things and therefore the algorithms would kick in or start kicking me and reduce my visibility – I can’t say Twitter does this 100% but I have a feeling something happens beneath the curtain when anyone gets a little too advertisey. On this weekend in particular, it was looking like I’d be reaching the 30,000 follower milestone on Twitter.

The Results

As you can see, day 1 brought in the most sales. There were even a few full priced sales the day before over in the US which gave Consistent Creative Content a great start.

Day 2 saw 23 sales and then things slowed down on the Sunday to just 3 sales.

For the time CCC was discounted it sold over 60 copies!

Chart Movement:

By the time Friday evening rolled around CCC shot all the way up to #2 in the US Amazon Charts under the Writing Skill Reference Chart. Usually its in the 1000’s which is an incredible result and will help with visibility.

Pro Tip: If you are looking for more visibility and perhaps even thinking of applying for a BookBub Featured deal, getting your book higher up the charts just before applying will help.

Cheeky ad of my Tweet Coaching Sessions

Social Media:

Because of the surprising chart position over in the US by Friday evening, I decided to take the plunge into tweeting. I got a little excited and hoped that maybe CCC would reach best seller…

Now the book never got to #1 which would have been awesome but perhaps another achievement for another day. I did spend the weekend tweeting quite a lot about CCC which effectively killed my engagement and visibility for the time. Even with a following as large as mine being sales focused constantly will reduce my reach or that’s how it seems anyway. Here’s an insight into that:

Friday Organic Twitter Impressions: 42,000+ (less book plug stuff)

Sunday Organic Twitter Impressions: 16,00+ (more book plug stuff)

This is also another reason why just a few days for a promo is enough.

Final Thought

I’m happy with this one year anniversary promo. CCC is becoming my most successful book but that success takes some time and time is a book’s best friend. Perhaps in a few years time the results will be even better!

Thanks for reading.

Quite soon I’ll be recording a new Twitter Coaching Sessions which is a celebratory glance at how I reached 30,000 Twitter followers and it will be free for all to listen!

A year in the life of a Guidebook

Time. Our closest ally and perhaps most fickle of masters. Any creative will know that you need it for near enough everything and when it comes to books, time really is a friend.

This weekend will see the one year anniversary of Consistent Creative Content being released. The guide book that could and in that time has become the most successful first year for any of my releases. An ambition to create an honest guide for indie/self published authors and bloggers like me slowly burned inside over some years. I could go as far back as 2017 and recall sharing my book promotion results across social media to a positive response – and that is the basics in which this is all built upon. If something is well received, do more of it.

By the time 2020 rolled around, there came a realisation that perhaps some of the things I have learned could benefit others who are in different stages of their creative journey. What if I just wrote a guide that laid out everything I have done to publish books, promote them and of course everything I have learned as a blogger on social media? The concept above everything is a snapshot at providing some reassurance that fellow creatives are on a path to something representing improvement.

Being open and honest about my results, both good and bad has catapulted me to a following and success I’d never imagine. That might be what I am known for now and you’ll be surprised how being open and honest wins the day online these days and CCC represents that and much more. This book was the first project I’d written for others whereas everything else on my shelf was mainly just for me. At release, my Twitter following hit 10,000 and now a year later it is about to hit 30,000 which hopefully proves the methods in the guide book that I use daily actually work.

Initially the release was digital only and this was only because at the time my sales were mainly digital. Of course the pre-order run was kind of a revelation as it managed at least one order for every day of the run which was rather incredible. But after an outcry from readers, the paperback version arrived in December 2021 and then came the deluge of paperback sales – the lesson here is simple, if you don’t allow yourself to have the availability in the first place then nobody will buy what you are selling.

Through the challenges being a social media indie author represents, this book has succeeded in reaching some of those who could benefit from it. The reviews speak for themselves and are in a number that I’ve never seen in year one of a release. At the very core of Consistent Creative Content is a very important message and that is to be proud of your journey and achievements no matter the size or significance. You can find success you are happy with in both blogging and self/indie publishing as well as social media.

This generation of social media creatives is breaking barriers and carving their own path to success which is possible for anyone as long as you dedicate yourself and of course take the time.

You can expect some celebratory things this weekend including an exclusive narration of Consistent Creative Content over on my Patreon – this will be free to listen to. There will be a few other things too.

To all of those who have supported my guide book, thank you.

Further Reading:

Pre-order and Release Guide

First Pages of Consistent Creative Content

Twitter Coaching Sessions

‘Sentinel: Galaxii Book 4’ by Christina Engela – Review

Immersive and enjoyable space-sci fi

Christina Engela returns with her immersive and enjoyable brand of space sci-fi in the latest instalment of the Galaxii series.

Captain ‘Sonia La Belle’ is tasked with an uphill struggle of bringing the starship I.S.S. Munray back up to better standards. With mostly disorganised personnel and the ways of a former disgraced captain leaving the ship in disarray, not to mention an old flame on the crew, this new skipper has her work cut out and then come the space pirates.

In the wake of these ‘Corsairs’ being a near enough wiped out, two particular outlaws find themselves in possession of a dooms day-esque technology that threatens not just ‘La Belle’s’ reputation but much more. A pirate resurgence begins along with a matter-of-time chase that ensues with drama and deception at the forefront of a great story delivered by way of Engela’s best writing to date. For anyone looking to for some fun space sci-fi immersion then ‘Sentinel’ is the book for you!

5 Stars – thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!

‘SKINNER: Thirty-five years. Four killers. One city’ by Nathan Jones – Review

Immersive near future sci-fi meets the macabre…

Dayne Mitchell has a fascination for the macabre and the wider subject of serial killers who have plagued the British city of Bristol for many years. As a sufferer of bipolar he almost looks to the dark subject of killing as a coping mechanism to get through life in a near future world that is intriguing and imaginative – these two words are what I would use to describe a story that takes readers to dark and sometimes graphic violent places.

There are a wealth of modern subjects and heavy themes in this book that are executed very well by Nathan Jones who merges near future science fiction to thrilling murder mystery with a lot of depth. The vessel being Dayne who endures a journey of discovery, twists and then horrifying revelations as his research into Bristol’s murderous past eventually comes to him. Fans of darker crime drama will certainly appreciate this one along with those looking to learn about the geography and history of a great city.

5 Stars

The Teleporter turns 4 Today

Time flies when your busy reading, writing, tweeting, blogging and just trying to survive this world. Today marks the 4th anniversary of when I took a huge plunge into the unknown by releasing a super hero comedy novella called The Teleporter. Today, it is my most successful book.

The truth is, I really wanted readers to enjoy and find something within that at least made them laugh just once because comedy has brightened my life so much over the years and if you can laugh at just one thing every day, even if it is in the mirror like me, then you’re probably doing okay. Back when I began this indie author journey, there were just two stories that kept nudging me to write them, one of of which became my debut and the other became The Teleporter which at the time and probably even now is a far cry from my usual genre of horror, thrillers and stuff that seems darker in tone. When I wrote it, I just wanted to have some fun and come away from those darker tones.

There is a lot of advice going around in the writing industry about staying in genre and not pushing boundaries too far from your usual stuff but The Teleporter goes against that grain and took me out of my comfort zone. While some ‘industry’ advice does work for all, following your heart and your creativity is important because anytime I have created out of my comfort zone, things have eventually gone well. After an initial release that saw less than 20 sales in the first month, I was convinced very early on that I had failed. 2018 Lee was a different, less patient creative who had no idea about the path that was coming.

It is never too late for a book to find success and The Teleporter is proof of that because just over a year after release, BookBub selected it for a featured deal. A BookBub featured deal is a huge thing for any author and is often referred to as the holy grail of advertising deals. For a very small time indie author to have a book I thought nobody liked selected by BookBub was a truly special moment and then in 2021 they selected it again – at the time, it had around 20 Amazon ratings. These two moments are what I always draw to whenever I have any doubts because if a site like BookBub who often feature literary giants like James Patterson and Stephen King say yes to my book, well then I must be doing something right.

And today there aren’t many doubts about this book which was downloaded over 10,000 times in a single day for that second featured deal. Just some days later it then became a Best Seller on Amazon and just months after it hit 100 Amazon ratings. Every month since that second deal which was the best business decision I’d ever made, The Teleporter has always sold copies and to me is the greatest proof that it is never too late for a book to find success.

To all of those who have supported this super hero comedy, thank you.

You can read all about how I secured that 2nd BookBub Featured Deal here.