A refreshing outlook on writing and publishing that’ll make you smile…
From the very start I had a smile on my face while reading this short but fun guide designed for writers who are ‘plagued by success’. The whole subject of art and creativity is too serious and rigid for the most part and this book breaks down that barrier while also being fun. Already from the reviews emerging I can see it is bringing fellow creatives closer which can only benefit others.
To have this kind of approach to an industry that continuously slams the door in the face of many brilliant creatives it’s refreshing and fun to see it being perceived this way. I loved the interactions between the authors in every part that told its own side story while also being very relatable.
Take a few moments to read this book and bask in the enjoyment of two writers who have earned my respect for their refreshing and comedic outlook on the craft because good comedy is rare and this type of comedy is my favourite. You’ll probably learn and thing or two also. While some might not know how to handle this type of reading, the best thing you can do is embrace it because it’s enjoyable and between those lines and in this book is a lot of truth.
5,000 Stars – Saw this on Twitter the other day and thought I’d check it out! Well worth a read!
Writing books and blogging go hand in hand to me. They have done for seven years now and just last month I was notified by WordPress for reaching that milestone. Time flies I guess… This Hall of Information blog is the central pillar to all of my content and this post is dedicated to everything I have learned in that time. Before I dive in, let me just thank all of you, for joining me here in this space on the internet I call home. You support is very much appreciated!
Last year I put out a similar type of post which then inspired me to write a little self-help book called Consistent Creative Content. Here’s what I’ve learned in seven years of blogging.
The major factor in all of this is time. If I could have incorporated that word into the title of ‘CCC’ I would have.
Blogging takes time, good results take time, finding content takes time… you probably get the picture. If you dedicate time to blogging it will eventually get better.
For those not sure where to start with blogging my basic tip would be to consider your blog as your own personal space to talk uninterrupted about any subject you wish. This brings me to…
Diverse Content – to a certain degree…
Many blogs including mine will stick to a certain theme when it comes to content. You probably won’t see a book blog talking heavy politics often and sometimes it’s good to branch out a little but my advice is to stay in the same content neighbourhood. While my Hall of Information blog started as a journey towards publishing that was fairly limited in what I could blog about. Since then my content has diversified within the realms of publishing. From indie book reviews to interviewing authors on occasion all the way to book promotion results and even just ramble posts that capture what I’m currently feeling. They are all in the same neighbourhood as my original vision but stretch a little wider in appeal. So perhaps trying new things is a good thing but…
New Ventures can take time…
Blogging for me turned a huge corner when I decided to take the plunge into offering Indie Book Reviews back in 2018. What happened the moment I launched that service? Nothing because it takes time to get the word out and build up a trusted reputation. Eventually indie book reviews became what I was known for but it started slowly.
This year I started another new blogging venture of offering space on my blog for guest posts and articles. Again hardly anyone applied but last month 8 posts were from guest authors who shared excerpts, their stories and even the story behind their story. Some of this stuff makes for great reading.
New ventures in blogging can take time but they’ll work eventually. In these two cases both offered an incentive. Incentives are the key to selling and now this month I have started a Patreon.As of right now the amount of Patrons I have is zero, but with a little more work I imagine some supporters will eventually arrive. There will be some more content soon, even some fictional stuff.
Leverage your social media following…
Those who know me over on the Tweet machine will know my following has pretty much doubled in the space of a year. If you have a loyal engaged following on a platform you can turn their attention to your blog and drive them to it – this is part of the reason why my blog gets so many views these days. But how, well, this leads to…
Know your audience and write for them…
In July of 2020 this blog had 63 click through’s from Twitter, this year it has 394 and counting. This is because now I write partly for that Twitter audience of writers and bloggers who appreciate my guides and reviews. This already galvanised my existing blog audience which was bookish to begin with. For those with a small audience or none at all this is a fantastic opportunity to write about whatever you feel, if it captures your personality, eventually it will resonate with someone.
Blogging Tip: If you blog with WordPress the social element of connecting with others is already there as everyone with an account has access to a feed that shows you suggested blogs to follow – this is a great way to branch out at the start.
Guest content still takes work…
After nearly a year of pushing a lot of my own content out onto my blog I kind of hit a creative wall. While I still have hundreds of guides to come from my many experiences, I took the plunge in offering space for guest posts on my blog which has over 850 followers. Plenty of authors have since provided me with guest excerpts, stories and reviews but even that takes work. While I might have outsourced the creative element in guest posts, they still take time to check, put together and schedule. There is also a fine art to spacing out guest posts so my audience is not too overexposed to the same thing…
All content all the time may not necessarily work…
Simply, if you want to grow and grow quickly in blogging then produce more content but too much content might have an adverse effect as readers read in their own time so if you are posting daily they might not be able to keep up. Last year and even recently I would post up to 6 times a week which is great for views but the content ranged from reviews to rambles. If you do suddenly ramp up content, be aware of how your audience respond and they will…
Listen to your audience…
I don’t get a lot of comments on my blogs but most of them come from loyal long term followers. They are my bricks and mortar and I do my best to listen to their feedback and engage with them. In blogging most followers don’t unfollow so a follower earned is a follower for life most of the time.
Blogging is a craft to me…
Like writing I can show you to the door and even set you up afterwards for marketing but I cannot physically teach you to blog. That is something you have to find within and working hard to get better will pay off eventually. Your audience may start small but they followed you for a reason, give them something to come back to every week or day. Its going to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing for some time but give it time and good things will happen.
The struggle for book reviews is real and while I put together a much longer guide about that struggle here are some quick tips to get more of them and how to deal with said struggle…
Leave a message in the front and back of your book to tell readers that reviews are important – this is obvious but sometimes overlooked. Many readers including me once upon a time never thought of leaving a review for a book. Remind your audience.
Fill that gap elsewhere by reviewing other authors works. You probably know how it feels to struggle for reviews so helping the industry will eventually help you. Plus reading, that’s supposed to fun right? But seriously, if you do help a few authors they might be inclined to return the favour but don’t expect it. Above all you’ll earn some trust and maybe even make a friend or two. Book reviews are partly the reason for my social media success.
Think about some book promotion or advertising because a lack of reviews is probably due to low distribution/visibility/sales. Theory would suggest that more sales equals more reviews… There are a stack of ways to advertise your book and I tend to use book promo sites every so often. The higher end sites also have higher end readers who review. Moreabout those sites here…
Shout about it in a few different ways because communication is key just like the first tip. On social media talk about the importance of reviews and then when you do get a good review share it and say how much you appreciate it. Make a thread on Twitter or put a review billboard together like this one…
Give incentives to reviewers because sweets for the sweet… from sending a reviewer a signed book to saying thanks to even giving them a shout-out or putting their review quote on the cover of a future release – these things provide some incentive for reviewers to share their thoughts.
Organise a pre-release and offer copies of your book to readers on the condition they review it on publication. If your self-published this will be easier, but basically offer your final manuscript to readers to review it early.
Try to compartmentalise the feeling of that struggle because it will never really go away and take it from me, my comedy ‘The Teleporter’ has over 130 reviews and I’m always wanting more because the chase is endless. I also have seven books published so if I spent every hour of every day worrying about the struggle I would get nowhere. My advice is to work on other things. Write that next book or blog post. Be busy and it won’t even cross your mind because that struggle is a state of mind.
Appreciate that it is really hard not just for you but for everyone published because it really is hard to get reviews. My debut book that dropped back in 2016 has 34 reviews and has sold thousands of copies. You are not alone.
Approach a book blogger because many of them are always looking for something new to read. Of course check out their blog and see if your work fits within their taste. Try to be personable in your approach. As a standard, offer a book blogger a free e copy for that review and be sure to read their submissions policy if they have one.
Talk about it with other authors because my Twitter DM’s, comments section on here and my Patreon are always open for any author in need. Reach out to one another because together our struggles are smaller, especially when we talk about it.
Time, above all is your friend here. Good things in writing take time and reviews take a lot of time to collect for a book which will be around a lot longer than all of us. Remember that. Most of these tips are long game style methods. Be in it for that journey.
Thanks for reading, this post is just a preview of another I have planned soon over on my Patreon which is my latest venture and a place where I intend to help more authors with coaching and future guides. If you sign up to one of my tiers you’ll get a free copy of my self help book Consistent Creative Content which has a whole section dedicated to reviews. Peace out, rock and roll man!
Over the many years and through great trial and error on social media I have concluded that positivity is a powerful thing. Now I’m not talking about stapling a smile to your face for the crowd because when it comes to being positive online, that’s something that cannot be staged. But like most of the things I say that work on social media, they are no good unless I show you. So what do I mean by being positive – perhaps something one shouldn’t go shouting about these days out in the street without some context or a mask…
Any victory small or large that you positively share with a social media following in a gracious way should be well received. How do I know that? Because I’ve spent a huge amount of time testing the waters and those stormy social media seas can be weathered by anyone; all you need to do is try and keep trying. But what do I really mean? All I can do is tell you my results that have worked and no, there isn’t any hack or magic formula to being positive online – you just have to show up and share.
But what if it feels like I haven’t achieved anything big or small to share?
That’s the wonder of being positive because it has multiple inputs. Sometimes it isn’t all about you and yes even I struggle with telling my ego that but, well-wishing is greatly received on social media. Just wishing your following a good day will resonate with someone and that resonation might compel someone to converse which is engagement which will turn into visibility and visibility turns into sales or follows or often overlooked – a good conversation and experience on social media. And remember social and media, they are named in that order to me for a reason – be social first, share media second.
Being positive on social media isn’t always about sharing results or victory but simply sparking an opportunity to engage and talk with another human behind the handle. So many users forget that or don’t even realise that. Just being on social media to sell things probably won’t take you very far unless you have a very mainstream and needed product or a bucket load of money to push your presence in front of everyone.
There are so many social media users out there who try to stir a reaction by being controversial or perhaps even spicy. I call that sort of thing bait and they’ll cast it out to the masses just to stir engagement – having been a reader most my life and present on social media for years, someone like me can see straight through it and none of that stuff ever really compels me to engage plus ultimately it is negative. Those who do thrive off negativity on social media will not last, no human can sustain negativity for long so be positive instead because sharing good things leads to even better things.
The Outlook is Positive
I know all too well that it’s hard having a lower following and for a long time it will feel like you are simply shouting into the void. Fill that void with positivity and it will answer back eventually. From sharing those smaller victories like a follower milestone, single book sale or new book review to simply wishing others a good day – humans are drawn to good news, good things and good things happening to you.
It fosters hope and if you give another person hope, they are unstoppable.
Practical Applications for Being Positive on Social Media:
Basic Tip: For those looking for a better reach, try using some hashtags. Most of the time the Hashtags I use are writing based like: #writingcommunity #authors #indieauthors #booktwitter #readingcommunity
There are even some mainstream hashtags that trend at certain times or days like: #mondaymotivation and #fridayfeeling
Hello loyal followers. Today is my 32nd Birthday so I’ve decided to significantly discount the price of my authoring and blogging guide book Consistent Creative Content. I know many of you either write, blog or spend some time on social media and this guide will help you with all three, plus it’s available today for a fraction of the price.
The world of social media is the glue that holds all of my authoring and blogging efforts together. In particular, Twitter is a weird and wonderful vessel that sails the seas of social media and can be used as a valuable tool in both marketing and finding your own crowd. Everything I’ve learned from the Tweet machine can both be applied to all writers and bloggers who make up the wider writing community.
To begin with, my advice for any prospective writer or blogger is to get yourself a Twitter account. The potential reach you can achieve doesn’t compare to anywhere else, so if you aren’t on Twitter you will most probably struggle to reach potential readers.
You’re going to need a handle (username). This can be creative or simple. Both work fine and yet again another important attribute outside of the trio looms.
To give yourself the best possible chance at Twitter success you need to be honest, friendly and decent. Why, you say? Because that’s how I got several thousand followers in just a few years, so you need:
A real profile picture of yourself;
A friendly bio that describes who you are, what you do. The more inviting, fun and friendly the better;
A pinned Tweet – a tweet you can put at the top of your profile that relays what you currently have available/currently writing, what’s coming soon or even a link to your book or blog;
To engage with others by commenting, offering help and advice, being friendly, supportive and decent;
To be honest. Trust me most twitter types are drawn it.
This also includes a following strategy that consists of:
Following those who follow you;
Unfollowing those who no longer follow you;
Following those who interest you.
Now you might be asking what exactly do I tweet about? My mantra is to tweet about anything as long as it informs, inspires, entertains or provides some level of value – this will normally lead to some engagement but if not it’s probably due to lack of visibility because of a low follower count. I will typically add at least one hashtag to that tweet also.
Popular hashtags for authors and bloggers include: #author #writer #blogger #writingcommunity #amwriting #amreading.
Twitter is a wonderful arena full of folks just like you, and together the voice of authors and bloggers is louder trust me.
For absolute beginners it might feel like nobody is listening or seeing your posts. This is only reflective of your current following. At the very beginning tweet less and spend more time commenting on the tweets of others. Explore hashtags and search for folks who you have a common interest with.
Twitter takes some time and effort to work out and has a very specific psychology to master. As long as you are approachable and lightly social, you’ll be okay but remember, it takes time and above all, good conversation between you and others. Before you experience any type of external success (book sales/blog views) your audience will need to feel like they can trust you. This can only be achieved long term and through genuine interactions. I call this the ‘Algorithm of Trust’.
This post is an exclusive excerpt of self help book ‘Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age’ which is available now.
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…
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:
So anyone can see from previewing the first pages if it could be of help to them;
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.
As of January 2021 192 million people use Twitter. That’s an opportunity to connect and engage with a lot of people. Opportunity is probably the best way to describe the platform which is basically a word popularity contest with the focus on connecting through those words to create meaningful relationships with others.
From my own experience, if you are on Twitter to simply sell something, you might struggle to get any type of decent results. But how do you get better results at Twitter? There is no short answer but this guide will explore and try to answer that question…
Statistic reference via: Oberlo.co.uk
Time and Consistency with Perspective
It has taken me since 2013 and at least one absence from Twitter to finally get any level of high engagement on the platform, but let’s be real here with some grounded perspective. Any number of likes, retweets, comments or follows is good engagement no matter who you are. One or two likes for a tweet is a success in my eyes and anything more is very good. Twitter has a specific psychology that requires some time to figure out.
There is no specific way to measure how long it takes to figure out, some grasp it quicker than others but getting better results will mostly be governed by time and consistency – showing up regularly over a length of time.
For absolute beginners perhaps tweeting ten times a day is too much to start with. Take it steady and let people get used to you being there. Tweet a few things every day, comment on other tweets from folks you follow – show genuine interest but don’t be too enthusiastic or pushy, stay cool and patient.
What should you be tweeting about? We’ll get to that soon but first we need to understand how the tweet machine works and it is very much a machine in my eyes.
I’m not really qualified to say how the underbelly of Twitter works and Google knows the specifics. There are those who regularly mention a thing called algorithms which as far as I understand is a computer based pattern learning thing. Theory is, if you are consistent on twitter it will eventually work in your favour and push those tweets of yours to more followers. My learning comes from experience and all you have to do is go on over to my profile and see how many wonderful followers engage with my tweets regularly.
It took time and consistency to reach that level. There is another algorithm that isn’t computer or tech based and it is also known as trust. Over many years my followers have come to trust me through the content I post and when someone trusts me they are invested in me. If someone invests in you personally they will eventually buy your product or service out of loyalty. I have zero expectation or even an agenda to sell to people in this way, it just happens naturally and mainly through presence (being present, not personality, I don’t have any of that…)
For example take a household cleaning product you buy on a regular basis. You keep buying more because you trust it does the job you expect it to. That’s brand loyalty and that can be achieved on Twitter also.
But what should you shout into that void to earn that algorithm of trust?
It may seem like you are simply shouting those words into a void and it will feel that way for some time but eventually that void will answer if you keep going. Too many folks give up on twitter too quickly. Going from zero to millions of followers isn’t going to happen quickly but you don’t need a huge following to get results. I’ve seen hundreds of authors come and go from Twitter because they feel like they are getting nothing from the platform. Translation: They are not selling any books for the effort they put in. But to me that’s not the idea of being on Twitter for the most part.
I don’t know who said having a Twitter account alone will sell books or sell anything but that seems to be the consensus for some. Of course not everyone thinks this is the case but if you’re an author who gets a lot of Twitter engagement I can near enough guarantee it’s because you tweet less about your work and more about other things which provide value to others. Remember, Twitter users want to invest in you as a person way before they consider buying something from you. I call this the art of indirect selling – your genuine engagement and socialising on Twitter results in sales even if you weren’t even aiming to sell.
So what are these other things?
Personally and from experience there is a huge range of content ideas for twitter but as long as it informs, inspires or has value then you are going to get something back – that is broad but also a fantastic opportunity to be creative. I tend to stay away from anything heavily political or even something that divides opinions – there are just other fun things to tweet about and it should be fun.
Sharing links tends to get less engagement as Twitter wants you and others to stay on the platform. My top tip: Drop that link in the comments below your tweet or leave it in your bio instead.
Images and visual stuff is great. From memes to a selfie. Did I mention a real picture of a real person goes a long way?
Sharing positive things is always going to get a good level of engagement. I can’t really remember many authors in the past sharing their sales statistics but I do and because I have a large audience of authors, it gives them hope that they can achieve the same. Give someone hope and you’ll earn their trust – we’re back to that algorithm again but sharing successful moments is inspiring to many others.
Helping someone in any way will always result in positive engagement. For the last three years I have read and reviewed over a hundred Indie Published Books. I support the industry and try to help a fellow wordsmith, there’s nothing more genuine than helping those around you just because I know their struggle. I shout about helping people because eventually it will probably make the literary industry better – a big ambition but achievable over time.
Commenting on other users tweets will push up your algorithm (the actual computer one, if it exists) and spread your presence wider to more people.
Hashtags should never be overlooked. I tend to include one or two in every tweet.
Play the long game. There aren’t many quick fixes. Doing the work will work eventually.
Above all being a person and not a link or book link sharing machine on Twitter will get you better results eventually.
You have to build your own…
Over time with consistency and patience you’ll eventually build your own algorithm of trust. Much of what I say may sound easier said than done but I have done it and achieved it. I’m selling a lot more books now through Twitter even though my focus has been more on getting a bigger following and just enjoying the ride while learning from others.
The campfire Analogy…
This has been a kind of Ted Talk but I want to finish with an analogy that I hope anyone on Twitter or thinking of joining the platform can understand…
So you’ve set up a small campfire on the edge of some woods (you’ve created a Twitter profile).
This nice spot is adjacent to a path, that path is then connected to a much wider path where people walk, jog, cycle and appear along frequently. (Basically the wider twitter community, no specific demographics)
You begin to talk to yourself while the small fire crackles away. There is a little warmth but other than the low hum of your quiet voice it’s pretty desolate.
You then talk a little louder (your tweets are specific to your interests, if you’re an author you use the writing community hashtag).
It might feel like you are talking to yourself but that busy path is ever so near. (it feels like you are talking to yourself. This is normal for a while)
A little time passes and someone along that wider path hears you talking (the hashtags amplified that voice of yours).
This person then moves onto the path adjacent to that campfire of yours, (you’ve attracted the attention of a specific demographic you’ve got something in common with).
You talk to this person as they have just replied to you. (they commented on your tweet). It was a brief but a pleasant exchange. This passer by then decides to come off that path and sit at your campfire (congratulations, you’ve just earned a follower).
Because this follower responded to something you said, you now tweet more about the subject you exchanged engagement with. You also talk directly to them (you follow them back).
Other passers-by begin to hear this follower talking to you and some at the very least stroll past the campfire. This one follower has sat at a few campfires before and those who he sat with can see the engagement you are having, (mutual followers of that first follower see your tweets in their feed).
You keep talking and exchange engagements. Some of these mutual followers have now walked by and sit at your camp fire. You talk to them also (follow each other). These folks even bring their own logs and the fire grows in brightness and warmth (more engagements happen, subjects range).
More folks who have been to other campfires see your campfire is a two way conversation and come to sit by it. (Your following steadily increases because you are talking and including them and you are present consistently over time).
The subjects you talk about are interesting and engaging. More passers-by join the congregating people already by your now roaring fire. You’re going to need more seating soon but you keep talking because these passers-by have become important connections. They have invested in you and trust you because your word is good and honest which started literally with you talking to a campfire. How do you know what to talk about everyday – you get better at this the more you do it. It even feels warm inside…
Some of these passers by now want more from you and so they see you have a product or service available that they know will be trust worthy or will at least provide something which will make them feel good, (You’ve grown your own algorithm of trust over time, as an author or content creator these followers buy from you).
You share with these fellow camp fire members how you got to this point. They eventually take on some of what you have learned and in their spare time they go and start their own campfires and the cycle continues, (you see others being successful at twitter also, they didn’t give up and kept talking also).
Although this is a specific analogy in a perfect scenario, it highlights the importance of being social no matter where you start.
Thank you reading what is a lengthy and quite detailed post. Hopefully it is useful and if you like this there are plenty more guides over in the resources section. I also have a self help guide book that is currently available on discounted pre-order. Link below via the awesome book cover, check it out! Peace out, rock and roll man!
Alright authors. here it is and due to popular demand the results of my most recent book promotion efforts which took place on the first weekend of April 2021. For the sake of helping a fellow wordsmith we’ll be looking into the basics, what I aimed to do, the results, how I got them and of course factors for success. This will be quite detailed but for reasons laid out ahead.
There might be some new faces visiting this here blog for the first time so allow me to introduce myself if you don’t already know me. My name is Lee Hall, I’m an independently published author from the UK. I have several books available and I am determined to persuade the world to read them – that is and always will be my dream. I’ve never given up and slowly over many years I’ve found some success. My readers and following on social media have been kind enough to keep that dream alive by showing amazing support. It is also my belief that authors should help each other because we are on this journey together so this post is for authors to hopefully gain something from. Let’s dive in…
If you are published you’ll probably know that an author’s greatest struggle is informing the world their work exists. The next challenge is convincing someone to spend money and actually buy it. I know this pain very well and everyone with a book for sale feels it. Unfortunately just saying your book exists is not enough to sell it mainly because our voices aren’t loud enough on their own, so how do we amplify that voice? Through book promotion.
Book promotion is a rather large umbrella that covers many different methods of marketing and advertising. There are numerous ways to tell the world your book exists while also persuading a potential reader to buy it. Some require long term effort while others are instant, we’ll go into some methods below. Before setting out to promote your work it’s important to decide what you want and how you are going to do it along with setting a realistic expectation.
My aim on this occasion was get as many sales as possible for my four books which are all part of the Occult ‘Order of the Following Series’. The first book in that series ‘Open Evening’ would be free to download on Saturday the 3rd of April while the other three would be discounted to 99 cents or equivalent on that day also.
If your book is published via Amazon and enrolled in Kindle Unlimited they will allow you to set your price to free for so many days every period. Free is an effective, please-all method of getting downloads. It doesn’t guarantee reviews or even reads but that’s the gamble with every book sale.
The main method I would be advertising this sale was through various book promotion sites and across my own social media channels. For beginners, book promotion sites are an effective way to advertise books online. Some advertise for free while the better ones you have to pay for. More info on book promo sites here.
In terms of expectations, I envisioned some paid sales for the discounted books while the majority would be for the free book.
Top promo tip: If you have a series available, setting the price to one book for free and lowering the price for the others will drive sales to all books in that series if promoted well for a short time.
Background information: In February I managed to convince high end Book Promo site BookBub to feature my stand alone super hero comedy ‘The Teleporter’. It was downloaded 10,000 times, became a best seller and has got over 100 ratings since then. This is probably important to note because after that promo a lot more eyes have been on me and my work. The aftermath has been rather incredible. You can read about that here.
So this is how things went on Saturday the 3rd of April. After what started as a rather slow day soon took a turn for the better…
The free to download Open Evening made its way around the world with an impressive 874 downloads while every other book I have available sold, this included books that were not advertised anywhere! Now lets take a look at the paid sales that day in a little more detail.
176 paid sales in one day is a record breaking statistic for me. Not only did this smash the previous record of 60 paid sales in one day (2019) but also the monthly record that was 120 (September 2020).
‘Darke Awakening’ took the lead and sold nearly triple the amount it sold on release last year. Overall these numbers are something I’ve never seen before!
Let’s take a look at Amazon chart movement.
The highlight was seeing Open Evening beside Dean Koontz’s ‘Odd Interlude’ via the Free US Occult Suspense Chart.
‘Darke Awakening’ did the best in paid charts by peaking at 21 in the US Vampire Thriller charts. ‘An English vampire book in America’ being in the top 25 of the biggest Amazon market is huge! It was in the 1000’s previously!
‘Darke Blood’ just about crept into the top 50 of the US Occult Suspense Chart, again that was in the 1000’s beforehand.
‘Cemetery House’ managed a solid 52 in the US Occult Horror charts. A respectable number for what was my most problematic release back in 2018. Redemption!
For what was a truly fantastic day continued into the Sunday with more paid sales. This time ‘Open Evening’ started selling at 99 cents. Chart movement is an important thing because it throws books in front of new eyes and puts them alongside perhaps more known titles. This drives visibility for passing trade.
On this day my all time paid book sales record for the month was pushed to 200+ which then got further improved the next day…
As of this screen shot taken on the 5th the total for paid sales in April reached 216.
How I did it
This story is only half told because now we need to look into how I got these results and there are so many different factors as to why this sale was so successful. Hopefully this is the part where some of you guys can get something out of this information.
Normally during a promotional run I focus the advertising on one book but this time I spread that advertising across the series using multiple book promo sites. So here are the book promotion sites and the packages I used for each book:
Free Booksy – Horror Series Advertising Package for ‘Open Evening’ with the series linked – Cost $65
E Book Booster – Advertisement for ‘Open Evening’ – Cost $25
Bookrunes – Advertisement for ‘Cemetery House’ – Cost £25
Robin Reads – 99 cents Discounted Thriller Promotion for ‘Cemetery House’ – Cost $40
My Book Place – Advertisement for ‘Darke Blood’ – Cost $10
Total Cost: $165
This might seem like a lot of money to some but if you are serious about advertising then you need to invest money seriously. My recent BookBub featured deal cost around $250. This sale has turned out to be my most cost effective and potentially profitable!
Top promo tip: If you want to know how effective a certain book promo site is, just advertise with them only.
Factors for success
As you can see the paid advertising focused on the first three books in the series but the 4th book ‘Darke Awakening’ sold the most amount of copies. It is usually priced at $2.99 but the 99 cents discounted price is seen as quite a bargain. This was also the same for ‘Cemetery House’ which is usually $1.99 and was also discounted. Price differential, even by a small amount is a major factor in sales. Supermarkets do this all the time. Folks like to think they are getting a bargain and they were in this instance.
But why else did this promotional run go so well? (this is quite a list but here goes…)
The Basics (again)
Different basics this time but I firmly believe people will buy a book if it has the following things:
A professional cover, an enticing blurb, a unique title and a fair price. If your book has just these things, it will sell eventually, trust me.
Further visuals: Book banners seem to enhance the visual aspect of a book’s cover. I made most of mine through online photoshop sites and shared them through my social media platforms.
Some reviews/ratings: All four books in the series have some reviews and ratings. These take time to get but are very valuable when it comes to selling a book. That star rating is sat just beside the cover, people take it into account. Some promo sites will only accept books with a certain amount of reviews.
Open Evening was free: People love free things. Some folks won’t even think about liking the free thing before they grab it and if one of those books in a series is free, that leads into…
Amazon Series Link: If you are published via Amazon and have a series you can now create a separate product page for all the books in that series. This is kind of a no brainer and if used properly, potential readers will land on that page and they will then see all the books available. On this occasion they saw all the books were discounted.
Having more books, sells more books: If you have multiple books published then readers are more likely to buy from you. This is also my number one book selling advice – write more books. Easier said than done I know but authors with just one or two books, keep going because sales will get easier the more books you have published. Then you can do more things to promote them.
Having stand alone books helps also: I also have two stand alone books, one of which did very well a few months back in another promo. No doubt some folks who read it then saw these books were on sale and took the opportunity to buy one or two.
The sale only lasted a day: While over the years I have ran many different promos they all tend to be for a short time. This creates urgency, a one day only deal will push sales because a sense of demand is created.
The Easter weekend or any holiday weekend is a great time to advertise a bargain book. These days and post pandemic a lot more people are online and more people are reading. Saturday is a prime day for social media traffic and so I used that to my advantage.
The month of April is also a rather special time for Indie Authors because over on twitter there is a thing called #IndieApril where a whole lot of folks come out to support indie books. Which leads into…
A strong and long social media game…
For some years I have been slowly ramping up my Twitter game and the chances are you came from Twitter to read this. In very recent times Twitter has brought me extraordinary results simply because I’ve kept going and tried my best to help fellow authors. Every day I show up and do my best to inspire, inform, entertain and hopefully provide something of value to an exceptional group known as the writing community. I know for a fact they came out in droves to support this recent sale and I’m truly thankful for it.
There is no quick way to get an engaged following on social media, it just takes time and effort. People have to trust you and that takes time to earn. I basically treat it like a job. As long as you keep going, eventually social media gets rewarding. Twitter in particular has a specific psychology to get right. For anyone who want’s to know more about getting better at twitter, here’s a recent guide.
For this sale I took full advantage of the shameless self promo Saturday hashtag and basically spent most of the day present on the platform sharing book banners and links. I manned the bridge and put all my efforts into navigating the S.S Lee Hall Writer through book promo waters…
While the promotion was unfolding I kept my Twitter following informed how it was going and this stirred even more engagement and reaction leading to sales. This also led to further sales on the days after.
Convince folks to buy into you first
Over the years Lee Hall has become a brand of loyalty that supports fellow authors by reviewing and embracing their works. Yes I just referred to myself in third person…
Last year I reviewed 40 plus indie books. Be a player in the game and the game will support you. I tend to speak less about my work and more about others, people see that I’m not just here to sell books, I am here to do so much more and you are so much more than a book link on social media. Be a person first and book link later.
The back story of my story…
Because I have such an awesome audience on this blog and now on Twitter I shared a post about my high school days which were a struggle. That personal struggle is something that inspired ‘Open Evening’ and so a week or so before the promo I shared it on here and via Twitter. It was even my pinned tweet for the week running up to the promo. You can read that post here.
The writing winds of destiny seem to be blowing my way as of recent. I’m not sure if I accidentally sold my soul or something but lady luck is shining on me right now and I’m riding that momentum. First a BookBub featured deal in February and now this awesome weekend of sales that is still aftermathing.
It’s never too late
Even years after its release Open Evening is now being read by my newer following. Books will probably outlast the best of us!
Things eventually align
This journey hasn’t been easy but I’ve never given up no matter the results. Perseverance pays dividends eventually, you just have to keep going. I’ve learned a lot over the years and next month the fruits of such will be published via my self help guide book which is available to pre-order now for a discounted price.
The true result of a good book promo run will happen long after the actual sales so right now I’m unsure how effective it was apart from the obvious visuals and stats I have shared. Overall I’m pretty happy with how things went.
I’m still getting over the emotional rollercoaster of February’s book promo and then this happened. It’s incredibly humbling to see my books getting sold in the numbers they did. I haven’t done anything special or even clever. Over the years, I’ve just kept going and that’s probably all I am qualified to tell you to do. Keep going. Chase those words and eventually good things come to those who work for it.
I shall leave you with this final graphic which shows royalties that I have never seen before, royalties that have started to turn things towards a profit and for me above all, hope.
Thank you to everyone who supported this recent book promo run and for taking the time to read this. The recent support you have all shown is incredible. You can find plenty of other book promo stuff in the resources section right here.
Introducing freelance journalist and writer Susie Kearley who relays some insight and experience from her many successful years of writing articles.
Turning rejections into acceptances
Writing short pieces, like magazine articles or blogs, can hone your skills so when you’re writing books, you’re better at editing your own work and getting the tone right for the market. When I started writing for magazines in 2011 it was a rocky road, littered with disappointment and rejection. But fortunately, with perseverance and determination, I’ve since sold well over 1000 articles to publishers across the globe. One thing I have learnt to do however, is master the art of turning rejections into opportunities, some of which have resulted in sales. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learnt.
Lesson 1: Give the editor what he or she wants
Take 3! The sound of eggs sizzling in the frying pan filled the air and James, the editor of Good Motoring magazine, asked: “What do you think of my breakfast this morning, Susie?”
He poked a microphone at my face and I garbled something incoherent about fry ups not being very nutritious. Porridge would be better.
We were recording a podcast for the Good Motoring website, and the ‘cooking breakfast’ sounds were pre-recorded. I was nervous and didn’t like being unprepared. I wanted to write my answers down and read them back with confidence, but James whipped my notepad away saying he didn’t want it to sound staged. “No danger of that,” I thought.
The interview was the outcome of a rejection letter. James had rejected my proposal to write about the hair-raising experience of being a learner motorcyclist on British roads, but said he was interested in other road safety ideas. So instead, I secured a commission to write about good nutrition to help drivers concentrate on the road – this podcast was part of the package. “I don’t normally eat a full English breakfast,” said James, “but I thought it would give us more to talk about!” And so began the start of a beautiful working relationship – he has since bought my articles on speed cameras and motorcycle driving tests too.
What did I learn from this experience? To listen and learn from the feedback received. Look for opportunities that rejection letters reveal and then give the editor what he wants.
Lesson 2: Don’t write an essay!
One of my earliest customers was Paranormal magazine. The editor, Brian, didn’t offer firm commissions, but would tell me if he liked an idea. Then I’d submit a full article on spec for his consideration.
He was interested in an idea I’d pitched entitled ‘The Psychology of Fear’ so I trawled through my psychology degree books, writing up all things fear-related including conditions like panic attacks and their treatment. It was well researched but a bit academic, so I made an attempt to lighten it up and submitted it.
Brian rejected the piece saying it was ‘too clinical’. More suited to a psychology journal than a magazine about hauntings. I understood the problem and managed to find another buyer for some of the work: Leader magazine is an academic title published by the Association of Schools and Colleges. I used some of the ‘fear’ material in a feature on stress and it worked well because the body’s reactions to stress are very similar to fear.
Leader paid three times as much as Paranormal, and the sale resulted in commissions for a further two articles on the topics of nutrition and social media.
What I learnt: If you write something on spec which is rejected, think laterally about alternative markets for the piece, and consider whether parts of the article could be used to cover a different topic altogether. Rejected work can still form the basis of a good article for a different market, and that can lead to a profitable long-term relationship.
This is an extract from Freelance Writing on Health, Food and Gardens by Susie Kearley.
Susie Kearley is a British freelance writer and journalist, working for magazines, newspapers, and book publishers around the world. She has a collection of books on writing, and her debut novel ‘Pestilence’ is out now.You can view Susie’s Amazon author page here.