Weekly Ramble #114

Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit as authors and bloggers. This fast-paced world of constant content demand has always got us chasing the next result without really stopping to think that perhaps that one sale or handful of views is actually a great achievement.

Even now and after many years of having my writing in the public domain I still feel weird when compliments come my way through reviews and social media interactions. For a creator who started at zero to receive any type of positive feedback is something I’m still adjusting to. The fact my words can make a difference in just one person’s life or journey is both amazing and something worth giving my self credit for. There is something to be said about valuing yourself and what you contribute. Social media does tend to default to celebration of one’s self but what about one’s work that has maybe only reached one other but might have contributed positively to their life. There is power in that, and not the type of power that most strive for but just seeing just another author take something from my self help book gives me chills – the good type of chills – the type where it makes me feel like this was all worthwhile. For all the struggle and constant grind, sometimes, just sometimes a little glimmer of light appears through the murk, illuminated by someone who has appreciated what I wrote.

It takes time and it takes work but being a creative in the social media age will eventually work out well if you just keep going. Standing out – that’s the key, but how? Keep going and eventually hard workers with the right attitude will rise above most but not in a competitive way because the only competition I have is the me of yesterday.

Weekly Ramble #111

Slowly I’m coming out of thunder dome. That’s the phrase I use to describe what has been the most intense three month period I’ve ever known as an indie author. From having my book thrust into the hands of 10,000 readers in one day to the arduous road of just releasing another one. Between that I travelled an immense but taxing journey to reach 10,000 tweet machine followers. All of this has taken a mental and physical toll but as I said I’m on my way out of that place. Pressure valves have been released and a quieter time has appeared. I’m now going to do what I have needed to do for a while; I’m going to live in the real world.

For everything awesome I have achieved recently, I feel like an immense amount of pressure has been lifted internally. The fight for the attention of others on social media is something that has diminished, no longer do I have to struggle because now I have an audience who are loyal and are there for me. While having an amazing audience is great, that doesn’t mean that I’ll take it for granted, I just don’t need to perform miracles to please everyone anymore. Yes, the pressure is off but the responsibility remains, these shoulders have taken on a lot recently and they will continue to carry anything else that may present itself. Just now, it is on my terms and my terms alone. My audience have made me and I’ll be doing everything I can to repay that.

My motivation to support others remains and is the strongest pillar that holds everything else up. While I will be backing off for a short time, you can still expect this machine to keep turning but now I’m heading back into the real world!

To those who have supported my recent book release, thank you. You have made it what I hope will be my most successful release ever with just a few more sales!

Exclusive Excerpt of ‘Consistent Creative Content’ by Lee Hall

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

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

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

I have started in this manner for two reasons:

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

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

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

1.You need to be consistent;

2.You need to be creative; and

3. You need content.

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Amazon Aus

Amazon India

Weekly Ramble #105

Over the past weekend we crossed eight thousand tweet machine followers! Although things are moving real quick at the moment its a pinnacle milestone because this time last year it only stood at half that. I suppose that’s the wonder of social media and being plugged in to it, things can jump quickly sometimes, especially if you put in the time.

This humble blogging effort is also in the milestone territory of 800 follows which I must applaud all of you for. The support you have shown is incredible and good things are coming, I promise. Right now I’m taking a short break to write this entry, a break from being in the intense thunder dome of editing my next release which is less than a month away hopefully.

‘Consistent Creative Content’ has become a mission of mine to get right but I’ve been incredibly lucky to learn so much over the years and then even more fortunate to receive professional level feedback from my BETA readers. Seriously, these folks have gone above and beyond any realm that I expected – knowing good people has become something I’m incredibly lucky at seemingly. If you get yourself out there and connect with others, eventually you’ll find the same. Just got to keep going…

Weekly Ramble #104

As creators who release our work into the public domain we’re always told to prepare for good and bad reactions but it seems none of us are ever told to prepare for the effects of almost instant and explosive success. The truth is and since my book got thrown in front of a huge main stream audience of 10,000 plus, I haven’t been the same and then this weekend just gone I broke more sales records. Things are growing in a short space of time. My mind is still processing how monumental an achievement it was to get that many people download something that’s mostly unknown and then even more awesome things happened.

Recently I’ve found it difficult to think of new ideas and create new works. The sheer level of attention, reviews and continuing aftermath has been distracting and ultimately foreign to me. I’m just not used to the numbers and this is something nobody has ever talked about or given fair warning of. One day, if your work is out there, it might take off without fair warning. All success comes at a price and while recent times have been hard to adjust to, I’m still sitting in a rather good place. My mind is slowly gathering itself and learning to live with this new normal.

This entry might have started out looking like a complaint but I’m truly loving the fruits of this long journey right now. Its just taking time to adjust to what was a major corner turned. I firmly believe that if you keep going, eventually good things happen and this seems to be my year. What did I do? Nothing special, I just kept going because that’s all I know how to do.

In between reading, blogging and having a constantly demanding social media presence I’ve reached a creative plateau but ultimately that’s okay. I’m celebrating books that came out a few years ago and are now finding their success. It’s more than okay to embrace the stuff you currently have published and not worry so much about what’s to come. I have a backlist that I can lean back on and even if I’m not creating anything new right now, the pipeline still has a few more projects. Of course the self help book is just over a month away but right now and probably for the near future I’m just going to enjoy the journey. Truthfully I’m very much enjoying the social element of what has become an engaged social media following. To hear from and speak with so many folks from all over the world has brought so much joy to this journey. Reverting to zero seems like a lifetime away now.

To everyone who has interacted with me recently and those who did buy one or more of my books over the past weekend. Thank you.

Weekly Ramble #97

On the eve of my finest possible book promotion moment I get shot down in the typical fashion that has always haunted me. Bad luck will never let anything of mine go perfectly, there always has to be something and only now am I slowly recovering from a bad spot of food poisoning that seemed to arrive just at that moment. Having to take time off work for the first time in over five years will probably do enough to describe how bad things were and mostly experienced through the height of what was my most successful day in book promotion ever. Silver lining I guess.

It’s that song, about things being ironic. A man winning the lottery and dying the next day. This bookbub promotion was lined up to be glorious and it was – results will be shared soon but the whole thing was just overshadowed by something else. It goes to show our health will always claim dominance to whatever else is happening. I was able to be semi active on twitter and managed to share posts across my social media fronts but not without huge effort. Overall it went well, very well and it’s a shame I am unable to appreciate the sentiment right now…

Either way I’m on the mend and I’m 10,000 readers up. Worth it? Most probably….

Weekly Ramble #87

If there wasn’t any social media I would still be writing, period. Recently I’ve been seeing more and more authors venting their frustrations because it feels like they are not selling anything or being listened to online. Is that what really matters in all of this?

I’ve vented many of my laments on here before, the whole reverting to zero thing is something all of us as creators must get used to. Just because you expected one thing and got another doesn’t mean the result was a failure. Selling hundreds of books and getting thousands of follows is great, sure, that’s an ideal world type of situation but does it really foster any type of fulfilment. If I were to rephrase that I would say selling the right book to the right person and getting the right engagement is way more fulfilling and important than getting larger numbers.

Because you had a bad book promo run or a stint of nobody liking your tweets is a paper thin reason to walk away from something as great as writing. That desire and dream you had perhaps long ago is stronger than that and so are you. For me this journey started at aged 12 in front of a Windows 98 computer on a rainy day. I’m a long way from that now because all good things and results in authoring/blogging take time and work.

Because you wrote a book and advertised it everywhere for nobody to buy it is an opportunity, not a failure. Do this for the writing and the journey your words take; everything else, no matter how much you try to get them; Retweets, follows and sales, they are not the measure of success because they are mostly out of your control so let it go. The rat race of social media will never ever go away, that feeling of chasing is constant – don’t let it bother you because there are stories out there someone wants. Stories that come from your energy and passion which deserves way more attention. Don’t give up. The greatest opportunity we have is in those words.

Weekly Ramble #80

They are going to knock down my old high school. This is a fact that I have recently learned which is both bitter and sweet at the same time for me. The pandemic has presented many opportunities for deep reflection, time on our hands will do that and it’s sometimes important to revisit things with the eyes and mind you’ve grown into.

Many people over the years have relayed or recalled their school days as either mostly positive or straight up terrible while others stand somewhere in between. I’m still processing today that the school I went to and the experiences I had may have been of the worst possible persuasion.

The truth is, that place took years for me to fully recover from. During those years after, I came to realize that there were normal people in this world that you could mostly trust, share real conversations with and generally function as a person alongside. So was it really that bad you ask? And my response would be, yes.

Not only is the concept of high school a mostly regressive thing to me; throw together a bunch of hormonal kids all at different stages of being hormonal, drill into them conflicting information about how important preparing for the future is and then top it off with a pressure to fit in and also succeed.

If you combine that with the environment I had to endure you would most certainly agree and the ecosystem that I weathered and survived was socially hostile, violent and toxic. It was a place that I could never truly fit in or let alone dare to be myself. Today we celebrate being ourselves. Inclusion is celebrated and still a noble cause worth fighting for. Back in that place, you couldn’t wear certain clothes, listen to certain music, think a certain way or even look at someone the wrong way without being punished for it and sometimes that punishment was violent. If you ever thought of stepping outside from the current and flow, you were targeted by a stifling mob culture of kids.

Head down, voice quiet and just bide the time. This was the only method of survival in that place I knew how to adopt and even then you weren’t safe. Perhaps that is why wherever I have gone since, I’ve survived. My invisibility strategy was enough for me to stay mostly unscathed physically and for the most part I went through this journey without being noticed. As for today; I’m not remembered probably by most who I shared those narrow packed corridors with. They were people who I had nothing in common with and many of the less desirable types had socially peaked at 16, I guess I could live without being remembered by the likes of them.

The teachers, who didn’t help but as an adult I know now they couldn’t help. Many of them couldn’t relate and were probably horrified by the fact they were trying to answer their calling in life at such a place. They were trying to function and survive themselves in what was an every person for themselves environment. Over the years I was there (5 – trust me I was counting), the place became more and more unstable over that time. A combination of worse schools closing locally and a change in leadership interrupted the order of things. Now you had younger kids fighting older kids, and sometimes these younger kids would win which just spun the volatile environment around some more. A wider level of ‘Gotham’ style chaos began to ensue. There was no safety. There was fighting everyday. No wonder I took the world of working in my stride, the sensation of it was both refreshing and liberating. The civility of it, a culture shock to begin with.

Anyone going through the struggles of high school, or anyone who has been through it, you are not alone. And it does get better. Leaving it behind is both weirdly sad and happy all at once. Being a writer means I am seasoned at compartmentalizing and putting thoughts away. There is no trauma now, but I can still explore old memories to cope and reflect. There may just be a hint of bitterness because I never went to the prom by choice, or even had many decent memories of that time, let alone any true friends.

I no longer represent the shy, quiet, keeps things to himself kid, that was just a survival mechanism. Over the years I learned to socially come out of that defensive shell because the toxic environment of those narrow corridors has long gone. As that confidence grew and whatever that place did to me faded, I began to do everything in life that I would get punished for in that place. From the music I now listen to and embrace, to even the hairstyle I adopted just two years after that place’s grip on me faded. Some of this stuff I do is to stick my middle finger up to the fact I couldn’t do it back then. Everything I have aspired to be was once just an escape from that place, and now I am who I envisioned to be, well and truly and without the school that I survived.

Now I’ve learned the place is being knocked down I’m able to take a long breath of relief because even though on the 25th of August 2005 I vowed to never return to those corridors in physical form, I will never be able to now, for definite. Since I left, the place took an even bigger downturn before half re-branding. Now that brand looks to fully absolve itself perhaps from such a shadowy past with new modern building beside the proposed playing fields which will serve as simply a grave of the days I struggled alongside so many others.

After reading this, you’ll see Open Evening – my debut novel in a whole new light because that story highlights the social struggle of high school; something that came from my own personal journey. I fused that element of what I knew and fashioned it into a story for some and a statement for others. Maybe I knew all along while I walked through that place, one day I was going to get these fuckers back, and the book did. Like always for me, the writing says everything I never could.

It became both therapy and reflection for me as a writing experience with an element of realism among the actual monsters that jumped out from beyond the unknown. The school burned down in that story, and now in reality it’s going to fall for real.

Good riddance.