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…
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.
Updated numbers from part 1…
Free downloads of ‘Cemetery House’ during this run
Sales of ‘Cemetery House’ after the run @ 99 cents:
Sales of other books in the series during and after the run
Sales of other books in my backlist
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.
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.
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.
Lets look at how it went, then I can share which promo sites I used and what factors of success were…
Darke Blood reached #3 in the Amazon UK Occult chart.
Darke Blood reached #1 in the Amazon US Folk tales/ Myth collections chart.
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!
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!
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…
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.
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.
For this promo I used a few sites that are UK based and this directly drove more sales in that territory.
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.
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..
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!
“Between chaos and the unknown, you’ll find a perfect storm…”
Well what a year it’s been, through the struggle and uncertainty all the way to the apocalyptic vibes 2020 has seemingly spat our way and still I’m standing exactly where I wanted to stand when this year began (only now I’m washing my hands every two seconds and wearing a mask)!
Some of you would have seen over the weekend my lack of ability to contain my
excitement pride in being able to share my latest book cover. Darke Awakening is not just my 6th book but a personal journey and a symbol of how important carrying on has been this year. It’s also been mighty rewarding as many different folks have connected or continue to connect with this here blog. Through all of my endeavours in 2020 the book has been a beacon of hope that has carried me to here and hopefully beyond because now it’s up to my readers and you, kind follower.
Those who have supported me from the beginning, those who have captured and seen my vision over the years and quite frankly for me, that is who this book is for. It won’t be selling thousands of copies on release but the people that matter to me will be buying it. The individuals I have convinced one at a time to believe in my work and those who have made a believer out of me, that is who this is for. And for one very important demographic of folks who only exist in words…
What you’re probably here for…
Well I’ve done the introductory preamble bit and laid it on as thick but smooth as possible. Let’s take a look at the cover of Darke Awakening in full, front and reverse:
It’s darker compared to the first one and murkier because there’s a theme of uncertainty. Just what is in the deep woods? What everyone thought they knew will get blown wide open. Plus it snows quite a bit later on in the book. There’s some new faces and even some unexpected arrivals all of which looks to tell a story of darkness and awakening.
A huge shout out to Design for Writers who put together this fantastic cover!
Darke Awakening carries on straight from Darke Blood but then later begins to cross over with both Open Evening and Cemetery House. You kinda need to read all three books in the series that precede it to appreciate the whole thing – hence why 15 people max will buy it. The good thing is I’ve got ya, all three of those books in the Order of the Following Series are currently discounted to 99 cents. One of which will be free this weekend but I’m not here to sell those….
The sales part….
Those who have been watching closely will know right now Darke Awakening is currently available for Pre order! Yes you can go right now and pre order the damn thing! This is of course only for the E version, Amazon aren’t brave enough to trust indies with paperback pre order things. I’ve said pre order a lot.
If you click on the rather shiny banner I put together below, it will take you to the Amazon US page.
Folks in the UK can click here.
Everyone else, just copy and paste this into your regional Amazon:
Final fun part…
This cool little comparison feature might be one of the only good things to come out of the new WordPress editor. As you can see all of the wonder and brightness of stars is gone as we go further into the dark – they both are really cool covers!
Closing statement/ a thank you
As always my efforts on here are made better by you. Thanks for reading and thanks for the constant support. You guys gives me hope and belief. To those who have already pre ordered the book, you are amazing, and to everyone, help an author out and go grab a pre order, let me know if you do grab a copy and let me know what you think of the cover!
Rock and roll man. Peace out!
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.
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
There are more than shadows lurking in the darkness…
(Imagine a jazzy background)
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:
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.
As you can see the results are 3 times better than bookbub ads, and not a dime was spent…
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…
It’s been three years since Darke Blood was released. The reason I acknowledge this milestone is because during the writing process of that book I firmly believe I hit the point of no return on the road to becoming a writer. And plus in life, you should celebrate the little things…
Now I firmly believe a true writer isn’t just someone who puts together one story and a bunch of concepts to then throw into the world. A writer is someone who can fashion a story from very little to create a lot multiple times. One book isn’t enough to find yourself as a story teller, but two, means it was no fluke.
I could lather it up with this artistic talk but I’ll just admit ‘Darke Blood’ was a pain in my ass to write and put together. 2016 – the year I drafted it was a tough year, I had bad sciatica, I was getting used to working shifts (albeit badly) and all around the writing stuff didn’t seem to be flowing. A few times I almost dragged DB to the recycling bin but now I don’t regret persevering once. Digging deep in times of struggle comes with reward and that’s what I got with ‘DB’.
It has become my most successful and most critically acclaimed book. Yes there a few moments where the story is a bit ‘out there’ and trust me I know it’s not perfect, but it’s good enough to immerse a reader and that’s what story telling sometimes needs to be. As book it must have worked and this one fashioned and shaped my tenure as a pensmith while also shaping the Order of the Following Series which it is now a part of.
You can expect more from the ‘Darke’ series this September as the follow up and sequel ‘Darke Awakening’ arrives which is also a crossover to Open Evening and Cemetery House. Currently I am drafting the third and final ‘Darke’ book which will cap the pentalogy that is the Order of the Following.
Happy ‘Darke’ Day!
As an author and creator with material to give and seeing what we are all currently facing around the world I have decided to share some reading material with you.
This is the opening of Darke Awakening, the 4th book in the Order of the Following Series. I have chosen to share this part because anyone can pick it up and I have something to give (not corona)…
Enjoy and love to you all!
(The Order of the Following Series)
By Lee Hall
Prologue: The Skeleton man
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 to the dark differently but we always see one of 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 out. That’s what I did, Blake Malone; the name personally adopted as a reminder of what I have fought for and who I stood alongside. Luckily for you, that fight isn’t over.
My journey continues right where I left it and now there are others whose stories intertwine with mine. These folks and their past may not fully matter but it’s why they ended up crossing my path and so they matter to me.
I wanted to be clever in how I kicked this tale off, instead of being corny and obvious, like saying ‘strap in, things are about to get wild’. Where we are going will need more than a seat-belt and if you excuse the segway, a seat-belt is something Mitch Hawkins wasn’t wearing as he drove his battered old Ford towards Darke Heath on a cold still night. And let’s face it, around these parts they are all cold still nights but this one has some significance.
Tall old pines straddled both sides of the main forest road, hence the name, but Mitch wasn’t focusing on the lackluster view of mainly black. He had one hand on a peeling steering wheel and the other on a nearly finished cigarette. Something loud and grungy blared out of his speaker system, the most valuable part of the vehicle, the L.E.D display danced to the base. Just as the next song was about to kick in, he heard a dull vibration from behind.
Instinctively he stubbed out the cherry and slipped a hand into his front pocket, except the vibration didn’t come from there, he felt nothing but denim.
“Aww, shit,” he said. The shuddering cell phone sat in his biker style jacket that was laid across the back seat.
He did that thing where you try to turn one-eighty and crush the soft part of your abdomen under the ribs whilst driving. Without buckling up an easy feat, so Mitch grabbed the jacket and pulled out his glowing cell phone without realising the old Ford had veered out of its single lane prompting him to glance up. He corrected the steering with a mind on the caller and failed to focus fully on the dim headlights that shone on an outline in the road.
“Oh, crap,” Mitch shouted in that elongated way where you know you’ve screwed up.
He frantically veered the wheel right and looked to a thin tall figure stood dead in the middle of the road. The image of two hollow eyes and not a lot else burned into Mitch’s head before his car left the asphalt. Rubber skated over loose gravel and to much softer ground. The suspension strained and dipped the shuddering car which crashed at speed into ferns eventually scraping to a stop.
Our driver had blacked out upon impact, and if you were to drive past that uphill spot five minutes later, you would be none the wiser an old Ford left the road.
Mitch came to in a spaced-out daze, the car, dead. Light came from a now full moon revealed itself behind thick clouds. The headlights, smashed along with his side window. Something pinned the sleepy driver into his seat, a strong lifeless type of force that also burned.
Just how long was he out for? The internal compass of awareness inside Mitch wanted to say not long. With a gasp he looked down to see a sizeable branch embedded into his shoulder, there was blood and the wood extended beyond a shattered front windscreen.
“Jesus,” he gasped with a pained breath.
You see Mitch should have worn a seat-belt, let that be lesson one. Then he wouldn’t have found himself restrained out in the Darke Forest at night and alone, another big no around here.
His shaking hand gripped the blood covered branch, the lightest of touches and he was in hurt city. It made him nauseous and kind of panicked at the same time. From the foot well came that familiar vibrating of cell phone. It was frustrating and painful all at once because for the life of him Mitch just couldn’t move to answer it.
“Goddamn it,” he blurted and rested a forearm on the permanently open driver’s side window which must have dropped in the crash; something he didn’t remember happening.
In his mind that image flashed into view of someone stood in the road. He’s heard the stories of the ‘Heath’ and so right then in that helpless state his mind began to wander. Those hollow skeleton-like eyes staring right through him. The Skeleton Man, he named him, perhaps a hitcher who walked from that Glenwood travel interchange place, or just a guy on a night-time walk.
For some strange reason Mitch had a feeling he was no longer alone.
Floating out of the cold air came a presence along with the frightening image of this ghostly face. Those hollow eyes stared down into the car. With a certain fluidity this Skeleton Man dressed in rags lowered to Mitch’s overturned forearm which hung just out of the car. Bony mud encrusted fingers coldly squeezed him.
“Could you lend a hand bro?” Mitch asked. The ghostly figure seemed to just hang there before moving in closer.
A sudden sharp burning sunk into his arm, Mitch desperately tried to scream but something hypnotic stopped anything emerging from his mouth. He could feel his existence floating away as the sound of gulping filled both ears. Soon enough Mitch slipped away into a deep sleep.
Part 1: ‘DB’ Continued
“Well damn Blake, it’s like you said, you suck at pool,” the man called Twister said. I guess he had the right to say that, especially after potting the black around my partially embarrassing array of red’s. They sat stranded in that after game type of way which just reeked of ‘you suck’.
“I’m more of a social pool player,” I said.
And there we were, in the corner of a busy bar called ‘the Cure’ while the Eagles did their Hotel California guitar riff thing. My grip loosened on a now pointless pool cue and Caitlyn Turner stepped in.
“I guess it’s my turn.” She took the varnished wood and stood ready to challenge this newcomer.
“Well it looks like the lady is up next. You’re giving me those eyes like you’ve kicked the ass of every damn hustler whose come though those doors,” Twister said and gulped down his whisky.
“Yep, and twice on Sundays.” Caitlyn moved to set the next game up.
“It’s wise not to play for anything more than pride I’ll tell you that much Twister,” I said looking at my girl Caitlyn grin from a fond memory.
“That’s code for she wears the pants in their relationship,” a voice said from behind the bar.
“Is that so? Well it is the twenty-first century,” Twister said. He leant on the bar and presented an empty glass as I turned to see the stand-in bar keep, Susie. She shot me that look all siblings give each other when they are in chop busting mode.
“Twenty first century? I’ve been around a lot longer than that,” Caitlyn said and broke.
“Although, a lady should never reveal her true age.” She stood proud of the scattered and still spinning pool balls.
“Ha, lady,” Susie said.
“Watch it biker chick Barbie,” I said to her, but she had another distraction, Twister. Susie did that thing girls do when they know they’ve got a guy interested. Her fingers brushed back smoky blond hair and she poured him another whisky.
“Keep the change.” Twister pushed a twenty her way and headed back to the pool table. Susie winked at me and took it.
“Smooth huh? Considering I’m not employed here. Well smoother than Splint anyway,” she said.
“Yeah, I suppose so, for a vam…”
Her cold hand gripped mine and stopped me from saying any more. For a moment I had forgot we were in the company of a newcomer. Twister wasn’t smartened up to this town’s ‘affliction’ which my sister just happened to have.
“I mean right about now Splint would be frowning at this newcomer bigtime,” I said and looked to see my Caitlyn continue an intrigued stare towards this stranger.
“So, been in town long?” she asked.
“Got in tonight.” Twister took his shot.
“On a dark desert highway…” the sound system blared.
“Now I like this song just as much as the next cat in here, but I’m pretty certain that’s the fourth consecutive time it’s played,” he added.
Yep, Twister was right and like that we were back as that damn song began playing again. Things never turn out like you expect and our story starts just a little later than expected or unexpected. Some of you know how I got to be standing at a bar in the middle of Darke Heath whilst I watched my girlfriend exchanging small talk with just a little hint of interrogation towards an intriguing character known as Twister.
She stood in that usual garb of strappy midriff revealing top and ‘pain in the ass’ to take off tight jeans of the red persuasion. Her boots finished at knee height and the heels were just enough to bring her height equal to the man she stood opposite.
This guy took the rugged look to new heights with a wealth of scars up either sleeveless arm. The flannel shirt on him had probably never seen an iron along with the cargo trousers. Twister’s face showed the signs of man who probably saw some shit in his lifetime, especially with the map of scars to go with it.
The two of them could probably have a decent fight. Caitlyn, a former vampire; long story, could still handle herself even if she represented a petite brunette lady. Twister didn’t exactly tower over her, but he carried himself in a ‘don’t mess with me’ kind of way. The visible muscles on both his arms weren’t huge but they were more than what I had.
I took a bar stool while the pool game represented a metaphorical sizing up of two considerable forces. Their exchange of words tested everything they wanted to know about one another. As far as I knew then, Caitlyn, vampirism cured and all, still packed one hell of a feisty punch. But this wouldn’t get to that point, either of them had too much tact.
“So, what’s with this place?” Twister asked. He never let the whisky leave his grasp.
“Well the bar’s owner, Splint, he just felt like a change. Hence the remodel,” Caitlyn said with a game face smile knowing he wasn’t asking about the decor.
He too cracked a ‘game on’ type of grin and probed some more,
“I’m talkin’ about the town. As I rolled in, I saw a stack of places under repair. Looked like fire damage mostly. That apartment block on the main drag in here looked pretty much levelled. I’m just sayin’, this place don’t look like a trouble type of town, on the surface,” he said.
“Then again most small towns aren’t what they seem.” And again, he was right. And again it’s a long story.
“Yep. Small towns, aren’t all their cracked up to be, am I right?” I said to them with nothing more than a ‘let the adults speak’ glare from Caitlyn.
“Swing and a miss,” Susie teased next to me.
“I’ve seen some places in my day, but every time I come through here, there ain’t much going down. Now I thought that was strange until it looked like hell went down here recently.” This time Twister paused and glanced up to Caitlyn before taking another shot. He sunk a red followed by the white.
“And when it comes to strange, I’m used to that rap. You seen the car I drive?” Twister nodded to the yellow classic style taxi parked in the street outside.
“So, let me ask again. What’s the deal with this place?” He asked with a tone that matched his serious look.
Caitlyn placed the white down and kept her equally strong stare on him while she lowered to aim.
“I’m a straight shooter Twister, so here’s the deal.” She drove the cue forward with a harder than usual shot.
“How about you tell me a little bit more about yourself before I answer that question. I think we both know in this world that knowledge is power, but only for the right person,” Caitlyn added.
The tension between them began to simmer a little, but she had this way. Must have been something to with being a creature of the night for the lengthy time she was. Like my sister, Caitlyn could ‘tame’ any alpha male type, she relied less on body language and more on honest words alone.
“Fair enough, Mrs Blake Malone. What do you wanna know?”
“It’s Caitlyn and what’s a fella like you doing in a town like this?”
“I’m just passing through like I do every now and then. I travel around most of the time,” Twister said.
“What do you work in sales or something?” Susie asked from the bar.
“Not exactly, I’m more of an exterminator,” Twister said, he kept both eyes on Susie for a little too long. Being the older brother made me notice that kind of stuff no matter how flirty she acted.
“We’ve had somewhat of a vermin problem around here recently,” Caitlyn said stepping into Twister’s view.
“Is that so? Well I don’t think you’ve seen the type of infestations I’ve dealt with,” he said.
“Try me,” Caitlyn added.
Another conversation trailed towards the bar and I did that thing where you try and tune into both sets of dialogue.
“Jeff, let me introduce you to my kids,” my Father Angus Greene said with his signature country accent. He shuffled a tall flannel shirt wearing frame my way and beside him walked a smaller Korean man. I swivelled on my stool to see Angus take a large hand off this man’s shoulder and stretch it towards me.
“Jeff, meet my son Blake. Son, this is Pam’s father Jeff,” he said.
“Nice to meet you,” I said and held out a hand for Jeff to shake.
“Mr Malone. Pam has spoken highly of you. Very nice to meet you,” Jeff said with a warm grip.
“Now the young lady behind the bar is my youngest Susie.” Angus adjusted the one arm he had in a sling, a partially painful reminder of recent proceedings. He signalled to Susie who leant over the bar.
“Hello Miss Malone,” Jeff said, he nodded, and this time kept the hand to himself. We could see his apparent discomfort.
“Please call me Susie, that whole Malone deal is Blake’s thing.” Susie extended her pale hand.
“And please don’t worry sir, I don’t bite, the good guys,” she whispered as Jeff half-heartedly shook her hand.
“Now, do you fellas want a drink? Splint left me to work the bar.”
“Well honey, he did ask if you could skip to another song on his new sound system,” Angus said.
“Uh, I already tried. Maybe I’m not doing it right.” Susie placed a remote control on the counter.
I looked past the several occupied seats to a booth near the back. The man known as Splint sat with his shaven head back facing and beside him, Pam, his girlfriend. He sharply turned to see Angus and Susie trying to work out the remote control.
“That’s for the TV that I no longer have. You gotta push the button on the player,” Splint called from his seated position.
“Okay. Great, thanks Splint,” Susie said back through the several people sat around.
“Where is the button?” She turned three-sixty on her feet and looked down under the counter.
“Bottom left,” Splint shouted. I could see him then turn to Pam as they appeared to argue about something.
“I’m not seeing it Splint,” Susie said over everyone.
“He probably means his left,” Twister said from the pool table.
“My left Susie-Q!” Splint began to get up. He started to climb over the table as his girlfriend sat in the way. She pulled his hand down.
“Let me just go and show her,” he said.
You see Splint and the Korean girl known as Pam were the ultimate odd couple. She turned out to be strong in the ways of witchcraft, Earth-witchcraft to be specific. Pam was also into geek stuff like D and D amongst other quest style games. Splint was pretty much the opposite, he was a jump first, deal later guy who listened to loud music like the Offspring and had a ‘loose’ kind of thinking in life. I didn’t want to say Splint was crazy, but he stood somewhere near it, and he couldn’t defend himself in a fight either.
Anyway, these two got together in the final act of our last story, Pam got sired by a vampire over lord type known as Alexis and his Death-witch partner called the Mistress who also turned out to be my mother. In that final battle Splint marched right up to her with a syringe full of vampire curing goodness and put in the save. They’ve been together since.
I watched them have one of those mini arguments couples have when they are still trying to figure one another out. Splint hopped over the table and Pam, leaving her with who I presumed was her mother.
“He probably means your right, or stage right,” Twister said, again from the pool table.
Splint rushed to the bar and nodded,
“Yeah see, the new guy gets the drift. It’s down there,” he pointed as Susie lowered.
“On a dark desert highway…” the sound system blared, again.
“Did you push skip?” Splint asked.
“I’m pushing it Splint. New sound system my ass,” Susie said.
Splint hopped over the bar and disappeared along with my sister.
“On a dark desert highway…”
“Damn it, it’s just the same song over and over again,” Susie said.
“Maybe it’s the cd?” Twister said, he leant over the bar whilst Caitlyn sunk another ball.
“Yeah, maybe it’s the cd Splint. If you get his drift?” Susie added and appeared again. Her eyes met Twister’s in that flirty kind of way that I wasn’t sure about.
“Your shot Stretch, save the flirting for after I win,” Caitlyn said.
My eyes kept their focus on Susie who turned. Something in her stance changed just then, like an animalistic sense that kicked in. Two ‘shifty’ looking types, shifted themselves in through the doors and over to me. The first guy, unshaven and walking with purpose reached into a jacket pocket.
I double took between him and Susie, then her face began to frown. The muscles around her eyes firmed and from her lipstick covered lips came two white fangs. Her pupils dilated and became something which represented more of a predator than my annoying younger sister. They stared into another set of similar eyes and I saw fangs coming from this approaching intruder.
“Alexis may be gone, but we still own this town,” the other guy said.
Everything moved too damn fast and I sat with a dumb looking face on a bar stool. My Father Angus swivelled to the side and held up his only available hand to defend himself against a glinting blade. Even in his recovering condition he had the strength to swipe the threat away only for the intruding vamp to follow through and drive the weapon into Pam’s father, Jeff.
Susie vaulted over the bar with a growl, she collided into the knifeman and down they went. The other guy smiled and backed toward the doors. I stepped in to protect my father who he tried to catch Jeff from falling. I lowered to see a river of red.
“Dad!” Pam screamed.
She coursed from her seated position and past several onlookers. Her outstretched hands clenched, and an aura of purple began to surround her body.
Susie laid in a punch and her target let go of the blood covered knife. Before she could do anymore the other intruder threw out a kick and pulled his companion to. They stumbled away and rushed out the doors.
Caitlyn watched with a front row view. She sharply raised a knee and snapped her pool cue in two, then her eyes met Susie’s and they charged for the doors.
“Dad, no!” Pam cried.
She dropped to the struggling Jeff with her purple aura fading, and she tried to help.
“Somebody call for a damn ambulance!” Angus shouted, and I saw Splint appearing from behind the bar.
“Blake, get out there son. Make sure those girls are alright,” Angus commanded as his hand gripped my open shirt.
They could handle themselves, but I breezed out of the double doors anyway. Out into the cold night air I went to the partial darkness of main street had where Caitlyn and Susie stood with their backs facing me. Opposite, the two intruders both in full vampire mode.
“It’s a shame you won’t be able to tell your friends there are new Slayer Sisters in town,” Caitlyn barked, she handed half a pool cue to Susie.
“That’s funny because last time we checked both the Slayer Sisters are now mortal,” vampire enemy one said.
“The original line up has changed.” Susie stepped into her target.
In my peripheral to the left I saw movement. The metallic sound of creaking echoed out into the mostly desolate street.
Vampire enemy two swiped out and struck Susie, she shook it off and retaliated. Caitlyn swung out her pool cue stake, the target stepped aside, and sucker punched her. She yelped in her now mortal pain.
“Aint what you used to be are you?”
She angrily threw out a connecting elbow.
This time I looked when that metallic creaking came again. It was the taxi, Twister’s yellow taxi, and a figure closed the trunk, Twister. He stepped out into the street with something long and curved in hand, not once did he look up.
“Now now, gentlemen, is that anyway to treat a lady?” He said while Caitlyn’s foe broke away and dove forward.
Twister had no time to react as the vamp pounced and they went down. A feeling I knew all too well. He held that curved weapon in defence to stop salivating teeth getting any closer.
“What, the shit, are you?” He casually asked and impressively hauled the attacking vamp over and away.
Twister jumped up, he stepped into street light and I got a better look at what looked like a sabre blade. Attached to the handle in his grip appeared to be a canister of some sort. Before he could step in the other vampire breezed past Susie. This time Twister lived to his namesake and manoeuvred out of pursuit.
He swung the curved blade up and down and then stepped in with a lightning quick swipe of the weapon’s handle. It cracked into the nearest vamp, but he wasn’t done.
Before I could step off the sidewalk my instincts told me to stay put and saved me from a mass of black which abruptly trotted past me. The cold breeze of a black horse in full gallop stepped out into the street between Twister and the ‘new’ Slayer Sisters Caitlyn and Susie.
Riding this silky coated steed was a hooded figure, I saw the outline of what looked like a bow with an arrow primed. The two vamps looked up in terror toward this horseback arrival. They began to bumble away when the hooded shadow let the arrow fly.
A brief whistle careened toward the pair. It entered vamp one at chest level and into the other close by. A brilliant flash of glowing orange filled the street and the two of them were nothing but dust in the wind.
“Uh, thanks, I guess…” Twister spun and we all watched the horse rear and bolt away.
“Who is that?” I asked stepping out to Caitlyn and Susie.
“Let’s find out.” Caitlyn had already begun to jog in pursuit.
“Guess we’ll race ya,” Susie said and after a few strides caught up with Caitlyn. They ran toward this shadowy horseback slayer.
I began to stride after them when I heard the turning of old motor. Wheels spun, and soft headlights flashed in the street.
“You wanna ride Blake?” Twister asked from inside the taxi. He was already at the wheel and had turned the car around.
I pulled open a yellow door and got in…
End of Part 1 – To be continued…
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!
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:
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!
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..
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!
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?
Book Promo Activated!
Darke Blood is FREE to download today and tomorrow! The sequel drops this September check out the trailer here…
“There are more than shadows lurking in the darkness of those trees.”
Blake Malone is in search of a new start and arrives in the remote forest town of Darke Heath. The memory of his past mysteriously becomes a blur as he discovers this place isn’t what it seems.
Malone shares a romantic encounter with a woman named Caitlyn and she reveals herself to be a ‘creature of the night’. He learns of her story which intertwines with the history of the ‘Heath’. Together they must face the evil forces of vampirism and witchcraft that await them in the Darke forest.
But just who is Blake Malone? That’s something even he must fight to discover. Because ‘you’ve never known true darkness…’
Other books in the series:
They live on the fringes of society chasing and fighting the horror of what lurks just beneath the surface…
Their symbol opposes evil.
There are five corners to a pentagram.
This Pentalogy is governed and connected by those who look to expel evil from this world.
They are The Order of the Following.
These stories stand on their own but they are also linked….
Embrace the unexpected….
A story of survival of what lurks underneath the fringes of small town America. The sole follower arrives and leads an unlikely group…
‘Twister pointed to a small pentagram tattoo on her inner arm. Over the top was a more prominent tattoo of a crucifix. He then revealed the exact same mark on his arm…’
You’ve never known true darkness…
Vampires and the occult world; two pillars which are linked to the story of Open Evening while also cutting its own path through the lightless void…
‘Our following could benefit with more like you two. I shall give you a day to think about the choices you make. If no, then the sun’s power awaits you.’
– a man named ‘Hudson’ (Mayor of Darke Heath township)
Survival was just the beginning…
The lone Follower Twister is no longer a solo Warrior. His newly assembled group look to find answers about the evil that lurks below. Their story becomes aligned with the occult. They learn of Twister’s origins and the ‘book’…
‘Dreads gently took out a large leather-bound book from the felt bag. That was the first time I saw the symbol. You know, the pentagram with a crucifix over it…’
“If I can see you. They can see you…”
4. DARKE AWAKENING
Embrace the true darkness…
Everything you thought about these stories is going to change. There has been an awakening in Darke Heath and so the fourth corner appears….
The characters of these stories will collide in an epic cross over full of revelations, action and the occult.
Creatures, witches and vampires will collide!
It’s time to embrace the true darkness!
COMING SEPTEMBER 2020
The editing process of book number 6 has gone well. ‘Darke Awakening’ is a bold and somewhat incredible feat – if I’m allowed to say so. The work we do must give us some sense of pride and as I reached the summit of what was a second draft, I feel a little more relaxed about it.
When it comes to my own stuff, my main concerns when penning any story are:
1. Is this thing going to work?
2. How the hell am I going to market it?
Luckily when I drafted ‘Darke 2’ I put in a huge amount of effort in answering question 1. First drafts serve that purpose and now comes the probable difficulty in all of this – getting people to read it!
My marketing endeavours have historically worked to an extent and this time around I shall be looking at previous methods while also trying to find new ones. My audience is in a constant state of gradual growth which helps immensely.
Those in the loop will realise I have subtly prefixed ‘The Order of the Following’ on the end of Open Evening, Cemetery House and Darke Blood’s amazon page titles. And in order for Darke Awakening to be fully appreciated they need to be read first as it is all linked together in what is an ambitious crossover. You can expect to hear more about ‘The Order’ soon.
The hardest challenge an indie author faces is brand awareness and distribution. Translation- telling people your works exist and that they have appeal. That’s what I shall be doing in the coming months so watch this space!
For a while I can let it sit and go back to reading some awesome indie books. My current read is a book called ‘NightJar’ – its a wonderful foray into the English language, I urge you to check it out.
Those of the author persuasion how do you tell people about your works?