Weekly Ramble #133

Let’s do this 2022. New year equals the promise of another chapter on this writing journey and I have so many potential projects to choose from right now that I am kind of standing still. Sometimes having options is a good thing and while I do my best to overcome the urge to just procrastinate I’m ready to dive back into writing very soon.

The truth is, that to-do list will always be there and so I have decided to take my time at the start of this year. I found myself in deep with Twitter all the way up to Christmas day trying to do my best to reach the 20,000 follower milestone which we reached, somehow. Then the 25th came and then it went in a flash and before I knew it I was back at the day job. In between pushing myself on social media and having the pressure of not catching a virus and then actually being able to see family this festive season I am kind of tired – hence the not really starting anything just yet.

For me, rest is imperative for both mind and body. They are irreplaceable assets and so I’ll be picking and choosing projects wisely at the start of this year with that in mind. There are a lot of pressures that no longer exist for me – the struggle for visibility on here and across social media has seemingly dissipated and that’s an achievement in its own right. Good things do eventually happen and the stars do align. For everything I hope this year will be, I just hope it is better than the last. May it be good for you also!

Final Ramble of 2021

What a journey this year has been. Rewarding and difficult in equal parts and a major turning point that signals how much potential this writing journey has.

I came into 2021 with relatively grounded expectations and into a world where the pandemic was continuing to unfold and evolve much like it still is now. I won’t dwell much upon it as my whole philosophy has been to mostly exclude the negativity of the whole subject, instead I’ll dive into the positive aspects of this year and how the last twelve months has served as collective corner that I have turned as a creative. I hope none of this is received as a boast because I always share my results with a hope they are inspiring and helpful to my readers, you. While there are many wonderful things this year has given me, it wasn’t easy.

And without you, this wouldn’t have been possible and without you, none of this would have felt real and for your support I must thank you. From having a book I wrote back in 2018 that I thought nobody liked being downloaded over 10,000 times in a single day to the abundance of followers I befriended over on Twitter; 20,000+ and starting this year with just 5k – that is probably my finest achievement in all of my writing. This all started with convincing one reader at a time and if you can convince just one reader then you can convince thousands – I am living proof that being a creative in this modern age can be a successful endeavour and you can be happy with the results. There are a host of other wonderful moments this year has given me like being recruited to be a part of an author academy for young people, an exciting venture that I look forward to sharing more of soon. The abundance of wonderful reviews I got for my works, many of which have been waiting for a long time to reach readers. The support for the content I have churned out on here and of course my most recent release which has seen paperback sales that far exceeded expectations. My next ambition is to see creatives who have read my guide book finding success with their endeavours, while it is great to write all of these guides, seeing others benefit from them would be the dream for me.

After these twelve months I can happily say that I am at peace with so many aspects that were once struggles. Hard work and wanting to be successful go hand in hand. Now I look towards a new year as a more opportunity to build upon the foundations this year has laid. All of what I have achieved is very much possible for you too, remember that.

I’d like to take this moment to wish all of you a happy new year and let us hope that 2022 will be the start of some better days for all of us. Rock and roll man!

Weekly Ramble #130

What an incredible year 2021 has been. Although challenging at times the past twelve months could be described by many words but for me as an author, I’m going to use potential.

Potential because the results I have seen for my efforts has convinced me this journey is worthwhile and has potential to go a lot further than I am right now. Of course the support I have received by you on here or across the platforms has fuelled me to reach higher and further than ever. I’ve achieved so many wonderful things this year and that tells me I can go on and get even better things. From having my book downloaded 10,000 times in a single day to tripling my Twitter following from 5k to nearly 18k, damn, things have really gone from strength to strength, I have even made money from selling books.

I’ve never been one to boast and while my statistics are awesome let them be the greatest advert for what you can achieve because I know there are so many creatives who follow me and who are just like me. If I can get these awesome things then you certainly can, for me, the next chapter is around the corner and so is yours. All I have ever done is never given up and kept going. From figuring out what my following enjoys seeing to the wider aspects of selling books and myself as a brand. The truth is, I want others to achieve what I have done, you’ll see from the plethora of guides I have churned out this year because helping others helps me, helping others builds trust and friendships, helping others is also incredibly rewarding. If you can find just one aspect of a journey to be rewarding then it makes the whole thing way more worthwhile. I’ve left my mark this year and potential is what drives me every day to keep leaving it.

Weekly Ramble #116

Since 2018 I have read and reviewed 120 independently published books. The pillar that holds my authoring and blogging brand together is reviewing other authors books and to begin with it drew some very favourable results – blog follows, new readers, author friends and even sales for my own works. Those things drove me initially because they are good things for me but then I realised slowly that I wasn’t just doing this for me.

While I would never ever consider myself some kind of hero for reviewing books, I now do it for greater reasons than just personal gain because in all walks of writing it’s the ‘everything else’ after that makes this whole thing worthwhile. Some of these things can come unexpectedly and that might be the true power of writing. Over those years and books reviewed I’ve forged a level of trust from you and from a wider social media following all driven by a desire to make authoring and writing better. As independents in this social media age we are representing future generations of wordsmiths who will enter this arena someday, an arena where gatekeeping is slowing diminishing, it will probably never go away fully but we can at least improve things. Amazon have given anyone a platform to publish, but it is our responsibility to make sure it is represented well. These days you don’t have to be ‘someone’ to get any type of acclaim in writing. While agents and big publishers look to hold on to how things were, times are changing for the better. Anyone who has written something can now be successful instead of someone else deciding that.

Authors reviewing fellow authors books makes the indie scene better for everyone. I have said time and time again that reviewing others’ works will also help you but don’t expect a direct return, don’t feel entitled because you reviewed a book and want something back because ultimately what you’ve done will benefit us all – you’ve made this journey better for everyone.

January Reading Wrap-up

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

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

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

You can check out my full review here…

One Line Review:

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

Rating: 4 Stars

‘The Word of the Rock God’ by Brooklynn Dean

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

Here’s my full review….

One Line Review:

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

Rating: 5 Stars

‘Husband for Rent’ by Kristina Gallo

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

Full review…

One Line Review:

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

Rating: 4 Stars

‘Deadly Odds’ by Allen Wyler

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

Here’s my full review….

One Line Review:

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

Rating: 4 Stars

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

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

Here’s my review…

One Line Review:

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

Rating: 5 Stars

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

2021 Goals

Things never turn out how you expect. The unexpected has fuelled every moment of my life in both good and bad senses. Now we stand with the smoking wreck of 2020 at our backs although for now it’s going to feel more of the same but as an author and blogger I am always sowing seeds and harvesting what I’ve laid down previously. Carrying on through whatever has its rewards and last year was good to me.

I tend to keep most things coming rather close to my chest until they are guaranteed, this year, like so many before is going to be a big one. Every year I put a list of the things I want to achieve up on a wall and get to work – this post is that. At the close of this year it might be cool to revisit this list to see what I achieved…

In 2021 intend to do the following as an author and blogger:

  • Read and Review 43 Independently Published Books
  • Draft at least one book – I’ve got a few ideas swimming around…
  • Release my self help authoring and blogging guide book
  • Interview way more folks on here
  • Sell a boat load of books and promote them
  • Edit and finish the last Darke Book – perhaps publish it also
  • Get 10,000 Tweet machine followers
  • Find a publisher for a novella I wrote last year
  • Kick 2021’s ass…

Hopefully the world is going to slowly emerge from this dark cloud which has seemingly shrouded everything. Right now we are driving towards daylight. There’s hope. Wishing you all the best for this year. Stay safe. Rock and roll man…

Weekly Ramble #86

Reviewing 41 books in just over 10 months is up there with 2020’s finest moments for me. These days book reviews are the anchor of premier content for this blog and they make the whole thing seemingly tick. Not only do they provide content that an audience likes but with book reviews comes a plethora of opportunity.

Although I’ve said writing more books is probably the best advice I can give for marketing, first of all you have to convince people to invest in you before they’ll invest in any of those books and so comes that opportunity. Reviewing books by fellow authors will get you more personal investment than any marketing trick or tip out there. It proves you want to contribute to the industry and be a part of it. You’ll be seen in a trustworthy light, and with trust comes loyalty. This will take time and all good things do.

Let’s face it, if your an author you know the struggle to get reviews, if your a blogger you know the struggle to get reads, I know it too and so I set out to fight back by helping others as I would wish to be helped – that’s all this is and the road to being taken as a genuine and respected figure in blogging and authoring is paved by giving back. The best forms of engagement rely on being genuine, honest and giving without expectation. I’ll say that word again trust. Commenting on another blogger’s post will sometimes make their day and most of us know how much a good review can help an author’s general mood.

And what do I expect in return – well here’s the wonderful thing, I actually expect nothing back because reviewing and helping authors is done out of mutual feeling so if I get anything out of it, that’s a bonus. This whole deal is a state if mind and importantly above all I’m reading wonderful books – something I have loved doing most of my life. If you can fashion a passion into a worthwhile cause then you are a better person for it. There have even been better outcomes than selling books or getting reviews because now I regularly connect with authors through email, twitter and this blog. Some just want to talk while others run ideas by me, not that I know much but I’m happy to help.

To all the authors I have connected with through reviews and social media endeavours, you were the one’s who got me interested in your work and pushed me to this achievement so thank you. Where do we go from here? Well the year isn’t out yet so you can expect this Hall of Information blog to do what it always does, to review more books!