Weekly Ramble #131

One week until my final author act of 2021 unfolds. Consistent Creative Content is coming to paperback and will signify the end of what has been an incredible year. Although much of this path has been difficult, yet again the good outweighs the bad mostly and so we’re rolling on towards new heights.

The truth is, I’m a selfish writer, I tell stories I want to read for me but Consistent Creative Content is the first book I wrote for everyone else. Using all the things I learned while being a selfish creative serve as something that can help others and this era of self published social media authors are climbing ladders over gates previously kept for years. It seems that in order to succeed in art, you had to be someone, but now all you need is for your art to do the talking or at least that’s a battle we are now contending in. We’ve come a long way and gatekeeping is slowly being beaten by the happenings of self made self published creators who deserve for their work to be seen. We have a platform, we have social media and we have our dreams.

Only a few years ago did I notice that people paying attention to my guides and so I had the idea of putting a book together with all of my best advice, learning situations and methods – its called Consistent Creative Content and it is coming to paperback next week, I might have already mentioned that. The act of sharing our results and experiences as creators will only bring us closer. That whole keeping things secret so your competition doesn’t find out, that stuff deserves extinction because in art there is no competition. Our creativity unites us.

Let’s Talk About… The Free Book Promo

Ah, the freebie, a normally guaranteed way to stir any type of consumer interest or so they say. This post will look in detail at the free e book promotion – something I know a thing or two about because since being published in 2016, I have run the free book promo 14 times… Yikes, that may sound like a big number but spread out over 5 or so years it has served me quite well. Let’s talk about it…

By definition, the free book promotion to me is the concept of setting the price of an e book to zero. This can best be achieved through Amazon KDP and if your digital book is enrolled in KDP select then you are allocated up to 5 optional days every period to list that book for free. I have highlighted the ‘optional’ part because although 5 days seems like a good amount, in my eyes the shorter amount of time a book is free, the better – this taps into the whole impulse purchase and urgency thing which is quite important in selling anything. Creating a sense of impulse and urgency in a free promotion will increase the likelihood somebody will want to download your book.

So, is a free book promotion worthwhile?

There are plenty of authors I know who will never offer their work for free and that’s fine in my eyes. I suppose its a case of weighing up your individual options against the factors for success. For me, I don’t earn a living through the books I have published, in fact I am nowhere near that yet, so making money as a self-published author right now is not on my wish list. But gaining a readership is and if my free promotion is executed effectively then that is exactly what will happen, eventually, in theory, maybe…

This whole thing is subjective, so remember everyone’s situation is different.

I tend to use the word eventually in most of my author situations because this really is a long game and hopefully with my results below you’ll see that. Before we look at the results which have improved over time, there are several factors as to why a free promotion can be a success. Here are the main ones:

Type of Advertising/Budget

Probably above everything else, the who and how much you spend will dictate a lot of a book promo’s success. Higher end book promo advertisers also have higher quality readers who leave reviews like BookBub. Budget will also determine how much reach it will have. In my eyes, for a free promo, I’m going all in so the money I spend will be returned eventually through reviews, readers and even social media follows. You can find some of the book promo advertisers I have used here.

Combinations

The second major factor in all book promotion is combining different methods – what I mean by this is perhaps playing around with the price/advertisers/books available. This is where book promotion runs can be deemed a success or not. In the many times I have run promos I have also reduced the price of other books or even advertised the free book before and after a promo. Just free is great, but other combinations are even better. I nearly always ‘stack’ my promotion too – this means using multiple advertisers over several days.

Social Media Reach/Activity

The higher and more engaged your social media following, the better it should be for any promotional stuff. Me; I’m pretty much addicted to Twitter and my following of nearly 20k does help. At a glance, the more you put into social media over time, the more you get back. If your profile gets bigger, more people are going to be interested in your work. Building trust over time online will create a fanbase eventually. How? Here’s a guide for that.

Genre/Time of Year

A wintery ghost romance probably won’t sell much in the height of summer but it will during the autumn and winter months. Genres and seasons do tend to go hand in hand. From late September all the way to Halloween works really well for horror and thrillers.

Length of Promo

I mentioned above that being enrolled in KDP Select will allow you up to 5 days every enrollment period to use for free promo but the shorter the promo run, the better. Impulse and urgency sell books that are on a price promotion.

Reviews/Ratings

Most of my free promotion runs saw better results after a certain amount of reviews. There is no fixed number but having over 5 will help a little. The more reviews a book has the better in theory. In terms of ratings, anything over 3.5 stars average rating should do quite well also.

Bibliography

My top book promotion advice is to have more books available and the more you have on your shelf the more a potential reader will invest in you. Even if their first read from you is free, if the experience is enjoyable then they may just return as a paying reader next time.

Make it Easy for the Crowd

Have you ever offered a physical book or two for free to your social media audience? From a signed paperback to an advanced e copy? Was the response mostly crickets and you weren’t sure why? There’s something about singling people out and then offering them something because every so often it doesn’t work. People don’t tend to like being singled out and so a free e book promo makes everyone feel part of a crowd with way less reader pressure.

Worked Scenarios

We’ve looked at the factors now let us look at a few real life free book promo examples. When I ran my first free promo back in 2017 it was kind of a stab in the dark. Something I have tried to improve over the years… (the book selling, not actual knife things…).

Scenario 1 (2017)

Book Title: Open Evening + Darke Blood (Both Free)

Amount of Amazon Reviews: 6 (UK only)

Length of Free Promo: 5 Days

Month: September

Books Published: 2

Budget Spent on Advertising: $70

Social Media Following:

Twitter: 2,500

Facebook: 300

Result:

Open Evening Free Downloads: 713

Open Evening Paid Sales After: 12

Darke Blood Free Downloads: 144

Darke Blood Paid Sales After: 29

Conclusion:

A very good first attempt at a free promo. Although pricey, 800+ free downloads and then paid sales after for both books was a win in my eyes. Turning a profit at this stage is difficult and not a priority. This was a good entry level free promo and to me anything over 500 free downloads for a book is good. You can read in a little more detail about this promo here.

Scenario 2 (2019)

Book Title: Darke Blood (with ‘The Teleporter’ free on the final day)

Amount of Amazon Reviews: 10

Length of Free Promo: 3 Days

Month: September

Books Published: 4

Budget Spent on Advertising: $100

Social Media Following:

Twitter: 2,900

Facebook: 400

Result:

Darke Blood Free Downloads: 3,403

Darke Blood Paid Sales After: 2

The Teleporter Free Downloads: 88

Conclusion:

An excellent result. 3000+ downloads for any book in that space of time is huge. Capped off with the last minute free promo of The Teleporter on the final day – this proved my theory of eyes being on any other book you have published during a free promo – remember combinations? That’s a major factor for success which you’ll see in the third and final scenario. You can read my detailed report on this promo here.

Brief Interlude

While the above two scenarios are impressive in terms of numbers, the free promo gets more valuable when you have more books available. By the time of the next scenario (April 2021) I had 6 books available, 4 were part of a series and the free promo and a book series go hand in hand for combination stuff. This next scenario is also after my BookBub Featured Deal which was also a free promo and resulted in 10,000 downloads of The Teleporter in a day. Time is your friend with this stuff and you’ll see how my results shifted below.

Scenario 3 (2021)

Book Title: Open Evening with rest of the series discounted to 99 cents or equivalent

Amount of Amazon Reviews: 27

Length of Free Promo: 1 Day

Month: April

Books Published: 6

Budget Spent on Advertising: $165

Social Media Following:

Twitter: 7,000

Facebook: 500

Result:

Open Evening Free Downloads: 940

Open Evening Paid Sales After: 2

Paid Sales of other books in the Series on that day: 176

Total Paid Sales that month: 230 – A record that still stands today.

Conclusion:

You can see from the results that the free promo kind of takes a different role because the other books in the series all sold from that initial visibility. You can create a series page on Amazon that links all books in that series together – let Amazon do the work with this, they have the infrastructure so take advantage. Paid sales pushed all of my books up the charts and to better visibility and the best thing is this book promo broke even the next month. April 2021 was my first $100 royalty month and then the second was May. You can read about this promotion here.

Page Reads

Often overlooked is the concept of e book page reads with can be tracked via the KDP sales dashboard. As you can see from mine and historically they have spiked and even sustained after every promo run since 2017. With more books and promos this can become quite an opportunity while also tracking results.

Final Conclusion

From the scenarios and factors laid out before, you can make a free promo very worthwhile. Of course there have been plenty of not so great promos but they are all part of the journey. You just need a backlist, a budget and some tactics. So in conclusion and for an effective free promo, these things work well:

Minimum time – 1 or 2 days work fine. Impulse and urgency. Think of it as an occasion;

More books helps sell all involved. Discounted prices if its a series. Combinations;

Paying for advertising – kind of a no brainer, plenty of good book promo sites out there. Stack them over some days;

Social Media Following – helps but not essential;

Reviews – Some reviews help.

There are always a few anomalies and variables for the individual but everything laid out above should help to sell books. I have found running a free promo works best every quarter or so and over time it can help grow a readership. These days my book sales are regular and mostly at full price all because I started with the free promo some years ago and built a foundation from it.

Thank you for reading. What are your experiences with the free promo? Any lessons or thoughts?

If you enjoyed this post I have stack of more promo scenarios in my author/blogger guide book which is available now!

The Twitter Campfire Analogy

Twitter presents a wonderful opportunity for anyone to find success on social media. Whether you are looking to make friends or sell content, everything on Twitter revolves around connecting with others. This Campfire Analogy explains how you can reach others and find success on Twitter.

Image via Pixabay

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.

This post is inspired by another guide which you can read here. Thanks for stopping by!

Basic Blog Content Ideas

Image by Werner Moser from Pixabay

Even though this Hall of Information is a blog and journey in publishing, its not always going to be about that, and the more diverse your content, the higher chance that passing trade will read it. Now this may contradict my overall advice about branding, but you are the creative boss in all this and diversity in content is sometimes a good thing. In my case, at the time of starting this blog, I was writing science fiction books which are yet to see the light of day, so I needed separate consistent creative content that casual readers could just pick up. More importantly, I needed to write posts that a wide array of readers could relate to.

This can be quite a hurdle for some and might take organisation, depending on how creative you are. Thinking of what subjects could possibly be appealing and compelling for a reader is a challenge. These days, while I have some structure, my ability to think on my feet has improved. As an author who writes with no real plan I’ve become adept at ‘making it up as I go along’ when it comes to some of my blog content. This method isn’t for everyone and it wasn’t always that way for me either. If you do adopt that method, your ability will improve over time by the act of doing – like all writing.

Over the next few years after my first blog post I managed to channel my interests and experiences of life into content. While I did continue to blog about writing and pondering whether I should self-publish, the Hall of Information still needed to operate regularly and be able to reach out to a wider audience.

Readers don’t always want to hear about one thing, variety is a key factor in producing consistent creative content.  

It’s easy for me to say consistent creative content but what am I actually referring to? Although these may appear obvious, here is a list of basic blog content ideas that will reach wider audiences:

Introducing yourself in a creative and fun way;

Book Recommendations;

Current Movie Reviews;

Classic Movie Reviews;

Movie Previews;

Television Show Reviews;

Television Show Recommendations;

Video Game Reviews;

Day’s out/experience Reviews;

Food and Nutrition Reviews;

Product Reviews;

Exercise Regime Reviews;

Politics*;

Current Events;

Mental health and self-care;

Cosplay;

Poetry;

How to Tutorials;

Regular Diary Style Posts;

Book Reviews.

I have highlighted the last two because back when I began blogging there were two subjects I did not think much about or even cover yet proved instrumental to the success of my blogging endeavours and wider writing career. If both are executed right they can be social and lead to better connections across social media.

My Weekly Ramble blog post is a regular diary style account in a few hundred words of what’s currently going through my mind or a reflection of what’s happening in the world. It’s written in a way where each entry stands alone and over the years I have covered many subjects, from receiving less than satisfactory book reviews to the advantages of being a part of the wider writing community. It’s an opportunity to blog, vent and hopefully reach someone who cares. It’s also written in an inclusive way so I confide in my reader – including others is a fun way of still talking about yourself without feeling guilty or being boring. My weekly ramble post is normally the best viewed article of the week.

Book reviews are a key part of my blogging.  

*When it comes to politics and heavy opinion, these are subjects I would advise you steer clear from early on. There are prolific bloggers out there who thrive off controversial subject matters and for those with a smaller following this sort of practice will only hurt that. Heavy opinion/political pieces also attract attention that may not be the type you want, if you want to sell books or get regular views.

This is an exclusive excerpt of authoring and blogging guide book Consistent Creative Content which is out now.

The Impeccable Guide to being an Impeccable Social Media Author

IMPECCABILITY is what you need to become an IMPECCABLE social media author like me and this guide contains everything you need to get there. Let the impeculation flow through you as this guide will avoid the same old repetition you’ve been reading online for years. You won’t find the same old repetition here because that impeculation will help you sell books, get social media fame and overall success on this path. We’re not even sure impeculation is a word but this is a space for creatives, not snarky editors. Let’s rock!

1. Definitions

In order to achieve IMPECCABILITY first you need to know the definitions of what social media is. So take what you think you know and tear it to pieces because social media is only one place, Twitter! Throw away the hundreds of followers you’ve earned elsewhere apart from Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and any blog you might have and focus on the place where the real party is happening.

Followers: Followers are what make up the audience in which you’ve got to throw every ounce of content you have all the time. When it comes to followers, their actual opinion, needs, and tastes don’t really matter but the number does so just focus on collecting more of them. Talk at them and they will listen, in fact keep talking at them until they buy your stuff. If they don’t buy your stuff then don’t waste your time on them. Block Block Block! Make sure you appear as if you are the only person in the world they have to follow. Don’t give them an opportunity to be included, just make them want to be you!

Engagement: This is the stuff you want to avoid on social media because engagement zaps up valuable time when you could be posting links into the void. Top Tip: Stay away from the replies on any platform where someone is engaging in you. Engagement is the enemy.

DM’s: Direct Messages, this is the tool where you can really hone that IMPECCABILITY by directly targeting followers into submission until they buy your crap. More on this below, probably but all good platforms Twitter allows you to directly message anyone. That is if they haven’t got those pesky privacy settings meaning you can only send them a message request. Block them if they have this. Don’t waste that time.

B) Twitter

Now we’ve looked at the definitions lets look at the real definition of social media, and the only place you can really sell books, Twitter!

The true power on Twitter is the personal connections you can make through DM’s. There’s a plethora of spammy unofficial add ons you can install onto your twitter that will do the work for you. And by work I mean bothering new followers into submission with information – this really works to sell things. So I recommend you set up a function that DM’s new followers instantaneously with a message of your choice. This message must be at least 7 paragraphs of your stuff. Links, blurbs, a not so sincere blanket thank you. And remember the more pretentious your message, the bigger you will appear to the lemmings so if you really want to appear big-time make sure you mention that a social media PR firm are handling all your endeavours. This will show you really care about personally connecting with others.

In terms of being a successful social media author you need two things and then you need to do one thing.

  1. Grow a social media following;
  2. Write a book.
  1. Share it to your social media following for instant sales.

That is it. And before you ask, yes it is that simple but the real challenge is conducting yourself to get sales.

iii) Conduct

There are a bunch of things you must do everyday to secure dominance and then IMPECCABILITY by using Twitter.

Tweeting:

Firstly and most importantly when considering tweeting you must include several hashtags and a link – you’ll find specifics below as to what to actually tweet but the basics are having hashtags and links. This way, the algorithms will favor you every time over everyone else. Only losers really attempt anything other than sharing links and using hashtags. Keep away from conversation and focus on flinging links and making tweets more readable by making #at least #every other #word a #hashtag because this doesn’t look desperate for attention, its the tweet conduct of someone who is goal driven!

Got to tag them all:

If there’s one thing that will help you gain traction and visibility it is to tag those with larger followings than you. They have spent many years carving their engagement and following so its time to use that to your advantage plus they are on twitter so they cant be busy. In order to really get someone’s attention, you want to tag these folks at least three times in a day. Maybe more if you’ve never ever interacted with them. Negative attention you ask? There is only such thing as positive attention online. They will love the overabundance of notifications, trust me.

Drop those links:

Just as you’ll be tagging those higher profile accounts it is also important to drop your book links on their tweets. Even if it is entirely unrelated because this is seen as an entrepreneur move. Everyone and their following will notice your sharp marketing skills and instantly buy your stuff. Drop those links everywhere. Twitter will totally not notice and tell you off. There is a rumour that dropping links all the time will bury your visibility, this is pure myth. Drop that link!

Keep it current, Keep it political:

The best way an author can become IMPECCABLE is to comment on current political events that everyone will forget next week but they won’t forget how you reacted. Jump the gun as they say and throw your one sided opinion into the void. Guaranteed followers and good natured engagement, especially if you move into the trending side of twitter. Much like the bone yard seen in the Lion King, you’ll find a Hyena or two willing to listen and engage with you. This will also show your true colours and reactionist mentality that everyone loves these days. Mud will stick here but this is the type of mud you can use as the foundation for that empire you’ll be creating.

Stay Mysterious:

Twitter is a wonderfully designed platform where it is very easy for your cryptical replies to be misunderstood and ill received. This can only be a good thing because people love a puzzle and conundrum – Sudoku is still huge and so consider this your opportunity to be puzzle master. Let your replies come across weird and give them a tone that cannot be gauged, this will guarantee IMPECCABILITY over time.

Enforce the rules:

Let’s face it, most of us have always had a boner for authority so on Twitter where the catchment of rule breakers is wide, it is important to shout from the hills that everyone should follow your story telling rules. It’s okay that you break them, but everyone else must get in line. Be that bullish borderline narcissistic bully and everyone will follow you in fear. Fear is your friend and leads to sales. Project your nonesense onto others until they love you. They really will.

Enable Trolls:

The Writing community has a weird way of attracting trolls. The best thing you can do is block them and move on engage them. Exchange gifs and give these haters a platform. You’ve got time right and remember everything you tweet will be seen by your followers who will love to see you enabling these worthless fucks good people.

Section 4: But What to Tweet about?

The question of all questions and only now am I going to answer it because you need all the information above to have a fighting chance of wading and then floating through the sheer deluge of words scrolling by per minute on Twitter.

These things are great to tweet about:

If you’re a newbie the best thing you can do is say you are new to the writing community and that you are looking to connect with others. These tweets normally blow up so seize the moment and even if you are not new, it’s okay to say you are. Twitter traction is all based on exploitation and small lies non-truths;

Another great way to get everyone’s attention is to say that Twitter is quiet today. This normally brings in the droves right to your profile. Of course Twitter isn’t quiet, you’re just using it wrong because the platform is open all the time;

Not knowing what to Tweet is also a great advantage. If you were to tweet that, again you’ll get some great levels of attention and remember taking attention away from everyone else is the key to success on the platform;

Of course if you’re looking for answers then ask questions. Asking inane questions all day everyday will guarantee to move the needle in your favor and you’ll notice how much your follows and activity rises when you try something other than inane questions. Remember the more obscure the better, like what would the milk taste like if your main character was a dairy farmer. That’s the real nitty gritty right there.

Sub tweeting – now I might have got this completely wrong but sub tweeting is a great way to show that you’re on track in terms of diet. So next time you eat fresh and grab yourself a subway footlong, tweet about it. This post is not affiliated with Subway in anyway.

Running your own writers lifts. For some reason everyone loves these, even years after the fact most have realised they mean nothing and get your nowhere. You can really build up a huge following of thousands and then be left pondering why none of them bought your book.

Conclusion

With the sections above you can tell I pretty much have a Doctorate in Twitter, social media, subway and IMPECCABILITY and now you can too!

I reckon you are set for pure social media IMPECCABILTIY like no other. That competition of yours will be crushed but there is one final part that is imperative to all of this. The general consensus from some truly IMPECCABLE social media authors. I put the subject of this post to the very best and we shall finish with their answers.

Thank you for reading and for the love of god please treat this post as satire, I wrote it for fun and I’ve had a difficult month/year and my go-to coping strategy is comedy/satire, stay IMPECCABLE!

Lee Hall is an indie author and blogger who spends much of his time putting together awesome guides like this. You can read more serious ones via his patreon and if you sign up, you get a free book, exclusive first access to future guides and his general love.

5 Great Author Tools Worth Trying At Least Once by Savannah Cordova

Great writers deserve worthy tools — and if you want to publish a book, you’re going to need a lot more than just pen and paper! Luckily, there’s an author tool out there for every step of the publishing process, from organizing your initial ideas to formatting your final product.

This list avoids the obvious word processors like Google Docs and Microsoft Word, instead focusing on author tools that fit into more specific niches. They’re all either free or offer free trials, so you can test each one and decide which tools work best for you!

1. Plottr

First on my list is a fantastic tool to help you jump-start your story. Plottr, as the name suggests, allows you to plot and organize your work in detail. You can chart character arcs and subplots scene-by-scene, with color-coded lines for easy visual comparison. Additionally, you can create separate notes for character traits, settings, and more. And if you’re not sure where to start, Plottr also offers over a dozen reliable story structure templates to help!

Pricing: Free trial for 30 days, yearly subscriptions ranging $25 to $65 (depending on the number of devices you use).

Lay out characters’ individual arcs with color-coded threads, referring to the upper-hand
chapter headings to keep track of when each plot point occurs. (via Plottr)

2. Evernote

Evernote is another excellent tool to help you stay organized. Gone are the days of messy drafts and random thoughts crowding up your phone’s notes app — with features like to-do lists, PDFs, and voice notes, Evernote will lend structure to your thoughts for optimal organization and productivity. You can even sync your notes across devices so you’ve got your best-selling ideas with you at all times! It’s not just for writers, either; whether you’re jotting down a grocery list or brainstorming for a book, Evernote will ensure you never lose the plot.

Pricing: Free basic plan, $7.99/month for the Personal plan, $9.99 for the Professional plan.

3. Reedsy Book Editor

The Reedsy Book Editor is a free online production tool which formats your book as you write, producing a ready-to-print PDF (or an EPUB if you’re writing an ebook). With built-in goal reminders and the ability to work collaboratively with an editor, the RBE will help you stay on top of your writing schedule and keep all your work in one place. It’s the perfect author tool to try out if you’re looking for a clean, distraction-free interface to solve all your formatting woes.

Pricing: Free with email signup.

Formatyour book with chapter headings, an auto-generated table of contents,
and even front and back matter for when you publish. (via Reedsy Book Editor)

4. Grammarly

Before you find an editor, you’ll want your manuscript to be as polished as possible — otherwise you’ll end up paying for edits you could have done yourself. Grammarly is just the tool you need to nip these errors in the bud. Not only will it check your spelling and grammar, but the Premium version also gives tips on style, tone, and clarity. All this should make your self-edit go much more smoothly — and like Evernote, you can use Grammarly across devices and purposes, for everything from your personal manuscript to work emails.

Pricing: Free basic plan, $12/month for Premium plan.

5. Cold Turkey

Finally, if you’re easily distracted and need a little external discipline to help you focus (don’t we all sometimes?), Cold Turkey is your new best friend. It lets you block different websites and apps when you want to stay focused; this could be just Twitter, or the entire internet. Compared to similar tools, Cold Turkey makes it much harder for you to stop the block once you turn it on, so you’ll be forced to stay on task — which is honestly a godsend on days when you have to write, but feel like you’d rather do anything else.

Pricing: Free basic plan, $39 for lifetime Blocker Pro.

Cold Turkey also provides stats on which websites and apps you use the most,
so you know which platforms are most important to block. (via Cold Turkey)

Remember, there’s nothing wrong with needing a little help with your creative process. With these varied new additions to your toolkit, you’ll be one step closer to finishing — and publishing! — your next amazing book.


Savannah Cordova is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects self-publishing authors with the world’s best resources and professionals. In her spare time, Savannah enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories.

Featured Image via: by Free-Photos from Pixabay

‘The Genius’ Guide to Bad Writing’ by R.T. Slaywood and R.C. Martinez – Review

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!

7 Years of Blogging: Here’s what I’ve Learned

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.

Time

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.

My favourite saying in all of this is simple; If I can do this, then you certainly can. Here’s to many more years of blogging and thank you all for being here day in day out to support my efforts. It really does mean a lot. I have some more quick fire tips for blogging over on my Patreon which is FREE to read at the moment and can be found here.

Peace out, rock and roll and to many more years of blogging!

Book Reviews: Some Quick Tips

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. More about 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!

The Power of Positivity on Social Media

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…

Some Context

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

You can find more positive things listed on the original post which can be found and read for FREE over on my Patreon.

Those thinking about signing up will receive social media shout outs, coaching, a free book and will also get first dibs on my many guides coming soon.

Thanks for reading and stay positive folks!