The Bag -An Excerpt

Hello Friends, today I am sharing a pair of flash fiction excerpts from a fellow blogger and author. Enjoy…

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Hello all you lovely readers and writers. I have two flash fiction, short story collections and I’m getting ready to pull together a third…because ‘hat trick’. (Which may make a good title: notes for later.) The following is an excerpt from a short story found in Down The Rabbit Hole: Another Experiment in Flash Fiction. My first collection is Haunted Hydrangeas: An Experiment in Flash Fiction containing twenty-four selected works ranging from a quick 200 word flash fiction piece, to an elaborate 3074 word short story. With out further interruption here is the beginning of TheBag: Enjoy -Megan

The Bag

The Trail

The trail had gone cold. That was the frustration which James Newton was feeling. He saw the target disappear into the woods but the trail went cold as soon as they hit the rocky cliff. If he had been more steadfast into making the…

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Awesome Recommended Indie Reads 2

It feels like a while since I last did a review post about my recent indie book reviews so here we are. From vampires to poetry and a few other wonderful stories in between, here are some awesome recommended indie reads…

Nocturnal Salvation by Villimey Mist

“My blood sings a violent song of brutality. My bloodlust surges through me, and I allow the monster to take the reigns…”

The ‘Nocturnal’ series by Villimey Mist has returned for part 3 and it gets better with each book – that’s the awesome thing about a good book series- the characters grow but so does the author. I highly recommend all of the books in this vamp-action and sometimes gory, but always satisfying series. You can read my review here.

Don’t Lose Your Head by Dave Williams

Dave Williams uses a unique blend of symbolism and metaphor to present a great story about one man’s conscience that tries to get the better of him. Just what’s real and what’s not seems to blend and before you know it as a reader you are immersed. With hint of darker tones this is definitely a story I’d recommend, just don’t lose your head… Full review here.

Hearts and Spears by Somto Jefferson Uwazie

It has been quite a while since the Hall of Information reviewed some poetry and it was very much worth the wait as ‘Hearts and Spears’ is a fantastic collection that covers a plethora of subject matter. From emotion and deep feeling all the way to politics and even nature, Somto Jefferson Uwazie delivers a masterful collection.

“Life offers one omnipresent constant,

Hope hope and even more hope… “

You can read my review here.

Josef The Writer’s Cat by Ellen Khodakivska

The Hall of Information is always looking for unique reads and ‘Josef the Writer’s Cat’ is exactly that while also being much more. Ellen Khodakivska gives readers a cat’s-eye-view of the world in both charming and fun style. It’s a heart warming tale that I’d definitely recommend. Full review.

Life of Maggot by Paul Jameson

There isn’t another author out there who writes like Paul Jameson and he delivers his brand of classic modern style through this novella length tale about the end days. This book is creative literature at its finest and I’d recommend anything from Paul Jameson – you really have to read his works, trust me! Full review here.

And so that wraps up another edition of awesome recommended indie reads. Thanks for stopping by!

10 ways to sell a book without dropping the link on social media…

Every day I see hundreds of authors on social media dropping the links to their works. Some even blindly drop them on other users posts without asking or even context. First off, no bad feelings to anyone who does drop links, sometimes it can be effective to generate sales but I have ten other things to try instead.

Based upon observations and experience over time here are 10 ways to sell a book without dropping the link on social media…

1. Create and share a book banner

You’ll find most of the methods on this list to be visual because visual is what a lot of marketing on the internet is based upon and it is very effective. While scrolling the various social media feeds every so often something does grab our interest and it is normally visual.

While people do judge a book by its cover, an opportunity to capitalise on that concept further is by using a book banner. In terms of scope, the sky is the limit and I would say any book banner that heightens the theme or visual-ness of a book cover is an effective way to grab attention on social media.

These days and with the world of online picture editing being easily accessible, anyone can put together an effective book banner. I’ve created most of mine through pixlr but I have even used Fiverr and paid for them like the one below. From experience, book banners do work for selling books especially if it is clear enough where to find that book.

Top Tip: If your book is easy enough to find, all you really need is to tell people where it is – that is what the majority of this list is based upon. So make it easy for potential readers, have a permanent link in your profile/bio or even encourage folks to search for it on Amazon. In 2021 and on many social media platforms the algorithms tend to not push links as hard. If I can find a book after seeing an effective book banner, I’ll probably be inclined to buy it.

2. Share a Recent Review

There are so many reasons why sharing a review will positively contribute towards selling your work. First of all I would make sure it is a positive review and again the sky is the limit. You could quote that review in a simple tweet or Facebook status, you could even put it on your own book banner and share it on Instagram. As you can see from my billboard below I received a bunch of reviews just after release of ‘CCC’ and put them all together. Then I shared it across multiple platforms. You’ll see I even included each reviewers work because for this case they were all authors and so I was more than happy to plug their works also.

Top Tip: Quoting reviews and even giving a shout-out to the reviewer will get some positive attention – others might feel inclined to read and review your work if you are sharing their reviews in front of a social media audience.

3. Share a Screenshot of an Excerpt

While book covers and banners are awesome, sometimes a reader wants to actually read something, so how about a screenshot of an excerpt. A few paragraphs of a scene or even the introduction can fit into a screenshot sized picture and it makes for something different to share – variety is key when it comes to promoting a book. Because social media is plugged in to so many people scrolling you never know who could discover it, maybe your next reader.

4. Share a Selfie of Your Book

Those who know me will know that book selfies do sell books and this is a concept that I kind of accidentally discovered after releasing my debut novel ‘Open Evening’ some years ago. One of my readers shared a selfie and then someone else did until folks were doing it everywhere. Pets were even included!

5. Create a Simple Trailer

It may take a little more effort than a book banner but I consider a trailer to be a moving and perhaps even talking version of a book banner. I’ve created some simple but very effective trailers over the years using mainly free to download software. Here’s a recent one that I did for hopefully next years release.

6. Talk about your Books…

It might feel like your are just shouting into the empty void much of the time on social media but if you keep talking eventually somebody will answer. Talking about your works is a highly effective way to inform readers that they exist and the inputs for this are many. From putting together a thread on twitter to even discussing what inspired your works on a blog, sometimes a little extra information goes a long way to selling a book. To me, there is the blurb and then there’s what the actual story is about – confide in your social media following and they might be interested in your words.

Just recently I put out several twitter threads over the space of a week that contained fun facts about each of my works. I sold a copy of each book after – a good job done.

Every time I share my book promo results on this blog someone buys the book(s) mentioned. Just name dropping them will sometimes drive interest and as long as they are findable, people will buy them. Just last week and the day before the launch of my latest book I wrote a rallying blog post and it resulted in multiple pre-orders. Get talking authors.

7. Share your Statistics

While being an author can be solitary experience you are not alone and a great way to bridge that gap is to share your results. Personally I find comfort in knowing that other authors are in the same boat as me and it is also inspiring to see when an author does well. That’s why I believe it is important to share your statistics sometimes. Authors who are doing well or even those who aren’t will only really benefit from sharing – someone will see your progress or struggle and may decide to lend a hand.

8. Share a Relatable Meme/Something with Common Interest

Those who did tune in to my previous book release results post will know that sharing content with common interest is an effective way to talk about your work and sell it without actually mentioning it that much. So what do I mean? Well, sharing something that is within the same interest as your book will drive interest towards it like a meme or even a story about something in the same genre.

9. Supporting Others

Ah, the pillar that holds up everything for me. You’ll even find the inner message to my recently released self-help authoring and blogging book is to support others because:

  1. Supporting others feels good and makes the writing industry better for everyone.
  2. Supporting others is the best way to earn trust.

Personally you can only earn trust with honesty, if you are dishonest even if you appear to be helping others you will eventually get found out. Trust is what you need for readers to invest in you.

I have learned over many years that supporting others will eventually support you in some capacity. This is a long game but mostly with all the things I do to support others, I hardly have time to post my own book link anymore.

But what can you do to support others?

  1. Buy and review an authors book.
  2. Retweet, like, follow and support a fellow author or anyone else on the tweet machine.
  3. Engage in conversation on social media.
  4. Share your experiences so others can learn.
  5. Tell your friends about this blog post…
  6. The list goes on…

10. Make an Author Video

Even though it might take some effort, making a video starring you is great way to promote yourself and that book of yours. Over the years I have kept my appearances to the minimum, in fact, I have only appeared on video once on Twitter and it was to celebrate reaching 10,000 followers. You can see that here.

From reading a book excerpt to just saying thank you, appearing in a video might feel daunting but with a few practice runs you’ll do great and appearing in person is a great way for people to connect with you. Be sure to mention that book of yours while you are on video.

Concluding Thoughts

All you really need to sell books on social media is to create an easy way for potential readers to find it after they know it exists.

The ‘exists’ part is doing all of the above to get the book in front of as many eyes as possible. While I am not totally against the idea of sharing links on social media I do find that they tend to get less engagement than anything else. There is a time and a place to share your link but just dropping it on someone else’s post without asking is not the way and also constantly dropping links doesn’t look particularly social on social media. On Twitter you’ll see a self promo post nearly every day, sometimes I’ll drop my link and sometimes I’ll just drop a banner instead.

The best way to sell books on social media is to find a way to stand out, do what others aren’t doing. While it may seem like everyone is dropping their links, do something different, it will work eventually.

Hopefully this post was helpful, if it was, be sure to share it on your social media feeds, whether or not you include the link, that’s up to you!

Book Release Results – May 2021

Okay, this isn’t my first rodeo in releasing books and over the years I’ve tried to keep my expectations grounded but I have concluded that releasing a new book as an indie author in the social media age no matter how high your following is like trying to draw blood from a stone… Great start right? But it gets better below…

Even with that engaged and loyal following it just seems we are fighting against the elements. The elements being the social media platforms who only push certain posts – that’s the true competition here, overcoming the algorithms to simply get the message across. In order to have a successful book launch – there are many inputs but above all you need to grind out sales in anyway reasonably possible. Remember the ‘reasonable’ part, we can only do so much that is regarded as sensible to try and sell.

This feature length post will dive into everything I did to overcome the algorithms and fight back with the methods I used to firstly promote that fact I had a book coming, then promote the pre-order and then the actual release for my 7th indie published book – a guide book about authoring and blogging. My hope is that a fellow author can take something from this to have a better or at least successful launch.

1. Initial Promotion

To me, the promotion of a book should begin as soon as an author begins writing. This has several inputs but the most important thing you can do is talk about the coming project via social media at the earliest possible moment. Even if you have just started drafting, most of the time us writer folk will know if we have a project that will become a book.

Of course this is also at your own discretion, perhaps sharing the full plot and main character arcs might be overkill and some authors won’t even share the title in fear of plagiarism which is okay. Share what feels comfortable to you. Use a placeholder title, hell, this time I even put together a mock up book cover. My advice would be to start slow, on social media, variety is key, so every now and then drop a hint that you have a book coming.

Common Interest

If you have a common interest with the book you are writing then perhaps think about sharing content that is related to it and not directly your book – writing a book about witches and vampires? Try sharing interesting stuff about that on social media while relating it to your work – maybe a few vampire memes or something fun. For me and back in August I started drafting my self-help guide book for authors and bloggers. This came from a blog post I wrote reflecting about blogging and I have always shared my book promotion results so I had a common interest because the project was going to contain blog advice and book promotion results. From August 2020 all the way up to April 2021 I shared my book promotion results, social media guides and every other type of resource I could – all of them relate to my book and lots of folks read them. You can find most of them over in the resources section via the menu above.

Quite early on I also envisioned a release date that would be in April/May and so then I booked my awesome cover artist for then. Now all I had to do was write the damn thing…

Ramp Up Social Media Presence

From August all the way to May I spent way more time on social media and specifically Twitter which is now my #1 platform. My motivations in writing kind of evolved during this time, I was already supporting fellow authors with reviews but now I wanted to go further and help them more by sharing my experiences from over the years. My belief now is that helping the writing industry will eventually help me in some way but if not at least somebody has got something positive from my social media engagement. Sales is not something that drives me, it never has, writing and now helping others drives me.

By December 2020 I hit 5000 Twitter followers, by January it was 6000 and by the end of April I hit 9000. That will tell you how much of an opportunity Twitter is to gain a following and I was at least doing something right. All I did was show up every day and try to share something helpful. Just sharing links and being sales driven will not work long term. Connecting with people on a personal level will.

I was also continually blogging with all types of subjects from those book reviews to various guides I put together. Readers always want new content and so I was providing that. The title to my guide book is ‘Consistent Creative Content’ and to me that is what you need for success. I really did put in the work for this and for much of the time I treated it like a job but importantly it was fun.

Having Other Books Will Promote Newer Books

Some of you might be sick of hearing this but my top book promotion advice is to write more books. Having more books as an author will entice readers to at least check them out if they enjoyed something you’ve written.

Between August 2020 and May of 2021 I promoted my other works through advertising and price reductions, some were even free. I had 6 of them to promote and the more works you have the more things you can do to promote them.

My super hero comedy ‘The Teleporter’ was even advertised with BookBub via a Featured Deal in February 2021.

10,000 people downloaded the book in one day and soon after it made Amazon best seller. Reviews and ratings poured in and soon reached over 100. All of this stuff worked as good advertising for my coming guide book as I shared it on social media. I also shared how I got the Featured Deal. All of this helped the cause for promoting an upcoming author guide book. Persistence and mostly hard work to stay present on social media basically convinced BookBub to say yes among some other factors.

You can see from the picture above that my book made it as a best seller with less than 30 ratings. If my book can get that, then yours certainly can!

Gradual is Key

The key to this initial stage is to take it gradual, even with my tight schedule of initial draft in August to release in May, I wasn’t spending every hour of every day tweeting about it. I consider Book Releases a big time one off event every year like Christmas – the rest of my endeavours like blogging and even individual tweeting is like a weekend in that sense. That’s a weird analogy but the key to this is to spend more time being a person on social media as opposed to being sales focused. Sales will come naturally if you go about your day on social media with an aim to just connect while producing regular content – there are so many awesome people online who just want to talk – even as an introvert I value talking and many of them will also appreciate your content – whether it is blog stuff or just tweets. .

Gradual is also important to you can avoid the ‘b’ word – burnout, which is a real and sometimes a crushing thing. I try to stay busy and do the work – this way I tend to avoid even thinking about being tired. There is no finish line so I just keep going gradually. When I do get down about this deal I take a step back and stay off social media for a while. Even a few hours away and a nice walk will clear my head.

Nuts and Bolts

This post won’t really focus on the details of what goes into putting a book together. I’ll call them the nuts and bolts for the purpose of this one but this stuff is basically the editing, beta readers, cover artist organisation and release date decision which is all part of the initial section because you need it before the next section.

Initial Reveals

So let’s say you have a completed, edited and polished manuscript that is ready to be uploaded to Amazon or your book retailer of choice. You also have a professional looking cover. At this stage I firstly published a blurb reveal on this blog and then when the cover was ready I published a cover reveal but on this occasion I used that reveal to also launch the pre-order…

Top tip: Using a cover reveal to also promote a pre-order is good little surprise for potential reviewers and in my sense drove some early pre-orders. Consider it a two in one type of deal.

2. The Pre-Order

Some of you might be thinking, why a pre-order? Why not just launch the thing and be done? Who the in the hell actually has any demand as an indie author to get someone to pre-order my work? Well friends, that’s the opportunity a pre-order presents.

To me running a pre-order is a vital middle stage of a book’s release and you only really get one chance with a book release so why not do something before to ramp up further promotion – that’s my thinking anyway.

Amazon allow you to set up a pre-order for your ebook and this is something I strongly suggest you take advantage of. Why? Well firstly you’ll have an Amazon product page to share and play with – this is huge for driving traffic towards your work. Normally after 12 so hours of setting up the page will be live on Amazon, all you really need is the cover and blurb – you can upload the manuscript file later. Having an actual Amazon URL means you can also bring the book promotion advertisers into play. Consider running a pre-order as opening a door of opportunity.

The most vital reason why you should set up a pre order is because when somebody does order it, you’ll be able to climb the charts. After launching my pre-order late on a Friday night this gave me opportunity to start sharing it on the weekend and weekend social media pre-pandemic days is always busy so there’s plenty of opportunity. This is a break down of the days leading up to release I spent promoting the book.

Day One

Pre-order goes live on Amazon. Its a Saturday so I utilize the shameless self promo Saturday hashtag and put out a tweet. I attach the link to the cover reveal/pre-order launch to that tweet.

With Twitter in play and my blog (for the cover reveal), I now put out a post via Instagram and Facebook. Fly my pretties! Some of my followers are only present on one platform so this guarantees extra coverage.

By the end of day one, my book hit’s #1 in the hot new releases chart on Amazon UK for Writing Reference. As you can see there are a few big names around the top of this chart.

Total Pre-orders for Day One:

9 – an exceptional start!

Day Two

For the time this book is on pre-order I’m doing my best to try and share stuff about it with variety and not just sharing the link all day. As far as I am aware Twitter and Facebook do their best to bury your posts if they contain links – this is just from my experience anyway. Day 1 started really slow but picked up later on and became quite phenomenal. So by Day two, I made sure to share the chart above to my following which drove a few more pre orders. Again I spread the posting out to other platforms – Instagram and FB.

I then put together a book banner because book banners just add a little more to the visual appeal of a book. During this day I also replaced the placeholder book cover with the actual cover in all of my guides on this blog. My longer term plan was to share one of these posts every day (common interest).

In terms of tweeting, I did tweet about the book a few times but my focus was on sharing the free content on this blog and so on this day I shared my ‘Building an Algorithm of Trust‘ post about Twitter success.

Total Pre-orders for day Two:

2 increasing the total to 11 (this is such a grind but those numbers are great)

Day Three

The reason I say this is such a grind is because although I am putting in every effort not to directly share the link it is still hard and I’m not sure whether or not my stuff is visible. Are my followers seeing my posts? Is the algorithm stopping me? Just have to keep going.

So day three is here and it is a Monday which means business as usual. Twitter is a different landscape during the week, users are at work or just busy so trying to get the attention of them is harder. I share a guest post on this blog and dive into the tweeting. In my head more ideas are forming on how to share more of my self help book to entice more pre-orders. Because the Amazon product page is currently in pre-order nobody can preview the book so I decide to put the first few pages into a blog post excerpt and I’ll share it on day four. Of course this post will include links. I make a point of telling my following to expect the excerpt tomorrow – it is well received.

I spend my day tweeting and confiding in my followers. This post was my mood…

Total pre-orders for day three:

4 increasing the total to 15 (this has now beaten the pre-order total for my last release!)

Day Four

The excerpt goes live on my blog and I wait. Of course the tweet about it doesn’t get the best amount of attention, I even put the link in the comment below as opposed to the main tweet but still it got swallowed up I think. This is the grind I’m talking about. You build an engaged following who are interested in you personally and are willing to buy from you but then you share a link and its a ghost town. Being the little person sucks sometimes…

To add more to that concept of being the little person, today I attempted to run a Facebook ad and had my account suspended for doing so. I’m not sure why. Perhaps they thought it was someone else trying to advertise my book on my account…

At the close of Day four I put out a tweet sharing a guide on how I got 5 thousand tweet machine followers. Again the reception isn’t great although this is a dated guide. The grind continues but I’ve still got a few more tricks up my sleeve. Just have to keep going.

Total pre-orders for day Four:

2 increasing the total to 17

Day Five

Today I have a masterplan to get more eyes on my tweets. Of course my mantra is to share stuff that someone can find some value in, whether it be something helpful or even fun. My plan is to first share my greatest statistic as an indie author to just show others we can be successful and secondly I am going to change my pinned tweet.

Top tip: After changing your pinned tweet ask your following to retweet it and do the same for them. Guaranteed exposure that will push your tweet around with little effort.

The statistics tweet and pinned tweet thing went quite well. After that I also shared my recent sales figures which had the best daily sales average ever and included a tip in that tweet.

My greatest statistic

Total pre-orders for day five:

2 increasing the total to 19

Day Six

Todays masterplan includes advertising the pre-order to include a free book. See my tweet below.

Now I thought of this little deal overnight and personally I think its an awesome idea. The only problem is nobody else seemed to think so. Was the algorithm blocking me from getting this to my following? Thinking about it further maybe sending me screenshot of the pre-order is just too much effort and maybe most of them have already downloaded the Teleporter. Either way its good to try new ideas, if they fail so be it. Nothing lost.

Today I gained a single pre-order keeping what is now referred to as a streak, alive.

Total pre-orders for day six:

1 increasing the total to 20

Day Seven

Today my sights are firmly set on celebrating the milestone of 10,000 Twitter followers which eventually happens early afternoon. For a while I’ve been thinking of what I’m going to say and so I take a wild stab at recording a short video.

The reaction was positive and supportive. 10k is going to take a while to sink in and for my efforts even a single pre-order came in. The grind continues and I can’t help but be thankful for the support!

Total pre-orders for day seven:

1 increasing the total to 21

Day Eight

Saturday again and I intentionally set up the pre-order to run through 2 weekends as for me they appear to be busier for traffic and engagement which in turn drives sales. Of course I run a self promo post on Twitter and drop several links in the comments for the various guides you can find via my resources section. I share the excerpt again. It has come to the attention of some authors that Amazon seems to not be working – some books including mine aren’t searchable on their site. Great – more odds stacked against me.

Total pre-orders for day eight:

1 increasing the total to 22 – this is now double my last pre-order run!

Day Nine

The grind continues, this is becoming quite a slog but I’m hanging in there and remain hopeful that those who haven’t pre ordered might show up for the release day. That would be awesome and special to me. I would really like this to be my best release ever. Today I tweet quite a lot and speak about book selfies which in fact do sell books from experience. Of course I run a self promo post because Sunday is a good day for that and I link a book promotion results blog post to it.

Amazon seems to be working again now and the book is searchable.

Somehow and with odds against me we get a single pre-order which keeps my hope and the ‘streak’ alive.

Total pre-orders for day nine:

1 increasing the total to 23

Day Ten

Monday is here and it is the week of the release! Work is priority today (my day job) and it is a long day. I’m unable to find much time to spend on social media and there is no blog post today either so eventually I share the post about getting a BookBub featured deal – I’m kind of just waiting for the release now. The streak will probably end today although I am keeping the faith and after work I dive back into tweeting. It is looking like the awesome and flawless run of order is over.

Somehow we get a surprise…

This wonderful author Emma Jordan arrived at just the right time and saved the streak! Therefore I happily paid it back and added her book to my TBR list. After promising to give a shout out to anyone who pre-ordered the book I then get another pre-order on the same night! Faith restored – this is becoming quite an exceptional thing. I’m looking at the perfect pre-order run – maybe I do know what I am doing!

Late that night I get a message from a fellow author and blogger who wants to interview me, of course I say yes.

Total pre-orders for day ten:

2 increasing the total to 25 (ten straight days of pre-orders! I’ve never known anything like this…)

Day Eleven

With a spring in my step after yesterday’s awesomeness I set out to put together a twitter thread on how I got ten consecutive days of pre-orders – this is a great opportunity to share and help others while advertising my efforts – a win win situation in my eyes.

Although this thread is well received, no pre-orders are coming in so far and it is starting to get late. By the late afternoon I know that the US followers are online and so I push the semi-panic button – I put out a tweet asking for RT’s for my pinned tweet in exchange for RT’ing theirs. The notifications come flying in… My pinned tweet – a video of me celebrating 10k follows from last week spreads around the twitterverse.

The interview I did for a fellow author and blogger Megan Hinde goes live and does rather well in reaching indie authors. I talk about writing and where it could go – this was nice to talk about. You can read that here.

It is getting late and no pre-order, maybe the streak is about to end. A perfect run would have been awesome but 10 days in a row is still fantastic. In one last ditch effort I ask and…

Pre-order 26 arrives at the very end of a day well spent promoting and tweeting. The support from my followers is truly exceptional and this is proof that I am able to sell books to the individual and if you can do that, then you can sell to multiple individuals. Of course I then gave this awesome follower a shout out!

Total pre-orders for day eleven:

1 increasing the total to 26

Day Twelve

And so the final day of the pre-order run is here. I’m part-excited, part-jittery, part-tired and just want this book out there now. 26 orders is better than I imagined. If I can get just one order today then this would have been a truly historic moment. This whole time I’ve just been leveraging social media and blogging – no adverts, just socials. My plan today is simple, do some light tweeting and put out a final rallying blog post on here.

My Weekly Ramble post goes live and almost instantly a single pre-order comes through.

We did it. We fu**ing did it. A small time indie managed to get a perfect score on a pre-order! An order every damn day since launch. But then the truly incredible happens, 3 more come in.

Reflection

Just under 2 weeks for a pre-order with 2 weekends is just about the right length in my eyes. I’m almost dead but as someone once said ‘superstardom is close to post-mortem’ and so yes it was taxing but overall worth it. Now with the release on Thursday that gives me room to promo and leverage the blog and social media until the weekend in 2 days time.

3. The Release

Having now released seven books in the last six years I firmly believe that no matter what happens at release it is never too late to sell a book or find success. The release to me is day one of a journey in which that book takes. At the point of this book’s release I am physically and mentally done. While the support has been phenomenal and the graphic above proves that, I need a vacation and more importantly I need to go away from promo mode and write – that’s what truly matters to me, the releasing of books and everything that goes into it is such a grind but from what I achieved it is possible to find success. This is especially so for anyone who starts this journey from zero – I’m talking to you fellow indie author and please use this post as hope and inspiration that you can find success as a creator. This journey in the latter stages was paved by some wonderful supporters who I will continue to engage with everyday on here and through my other social media channels. They were the true power in all of this and my will to never ever give up.

This section will be quite short because at the time of writing the release has only just happened and to me the life of a book only really starts then. Where it will go is governed by time and the support is has got through a fantastic against the odds pre-order run.

The good thing about having such a great pre-order run is that I’ve already done the work to sell my books to readers who now already have the book on their devices. This meant that on release day I focused more on celebrating than actually pushing to sell more. To me, the work is done and an almighty amount of pressure was released on this day. We all have expectations and now everything begins to subside.

That kind of wraps things up for a post that is rather long. Below you shall find some concluding points to use as reference for a successful launch. I wouldn’t be an indie author if I didn’t try to sell you something so you can find pretty much everything it took to get to this point in the main subject of this post; my book which is out now.

If you type ‘Consistent Creative Content Lee Hall’ into Amazon, it should come up.

Peace out, thanks for reading.

Concluding points of everything above in short form:

Talk about the project at the earliest possible time. Start slow and ramp up.

Use a placeholder cover and working title if necessary.

Common interest – share stuff that has something in common with your book, even a meme or something fun.

Ramp up social media presence – gradually being on there more will eventually drive results if you post and engage with others. This might interest potential readers.

Promote other works if applicable – more books sells more books…

Launching and running a pre-order is good for ramping up promotion of a release.

I incorporated the cover reveal and pre-order launch in one go.

You’ll have an Amazon product page to share and use for advertisement and chart placement if you do get orders.

Around 14 or so days works well for promotion of the pre-order with a couple of weekends included in that time. This is plenty of time to create a couple of pinned tweets on twitter and ask your following to RT them.

Share an excerpt of your book via your blog if you have one. The Amazon product page doesn’t allow potential readers to ‘look inside’ a book on pre-order.

It will be a grind, but keep going and keep trying to find different ways to overcome the algorithms and get your book out there to readers by just being social online. You can do it because I did!

Exclusive Excerpt of ‘Consistent Creative Content’ by Lee Hall

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

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

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

I have started in this manner for two reasons:

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

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

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

1.You need to be consistent;

2.You need to be creative; and

3. You need content.

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Amazon Aus

Amazon India

‘Operation: Palmetto’ by R.T. Breach – Review

The chase is on for one man on a mission to prove his worth and the stakes are high…

The chase is on after an Iranian scientist escapes to the USA and from the clutches of Israeli rivals in what is a lightly political, espionage-heavy tale about the Mossad agent dealt the mission to track this target down.

The story spends a lot of time in the head of main character Karl Gruben who has his own doubts and conflicts as he embarks on a journey and joins a group of other agents who are undercover; some are experienced where others like Karl aren’t. We see the trials and tribulations of this group as they track down their target using a wealth of tech which they test to sometimes not so great results. Some of the gadgetry used was interesting and original while others were little on the fun/humorous side; a robotic cat comes to mind here.

Every so often I did find the writing style to tell as opposed to show and after what was a fast paced introduction much of the action didn’t really unfold until much later – saying that the final quarter of the story definitely made up for that. Karl’s inner thoughts are expressed throughout and carries the story. He’s a man on a mission to prove his worth and fight for a cause. Will he succeed in his mission and will it be worthwhile in the end? These personal stakes did seem to outweigh much of the political themes putting you in the head and in the moments of this chase story. For those who enjoy an espionage tale with a few twists this is definitely the one for you.

3 Stars – this review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

Detective Stories-An Excerpt

Hello friends, today I am re-blogging an excerpt of ‘Detective Stories’ from fellow author Megan Hinde via her awesome blog.

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Collection of detective stories featuring Detective James Andrews. “Secret admirer?” Officer Roberts asked handing Detective James Andrews a red heart shaped box, wrapped with a white ribbon. “Not likely,” James said taking the box, setting it down on the desk in front of him. James pulled the white ribbon that made a bow around the box. He slid the top of the box up, lifting it off. “What the…” James pushed back from his desk standing up. “Get a crime scene kit up here,” He ordered.

First off I’m terrible at writing blurbs. That being said, I wrote a book. I write for me, this writing road trip started about five years ago, and has had its fair share of bumps, flat tires and odd nights spent at creepy motels. Personally I am proud of Detective Stories I enjoyed writing it, I am emotionally invested in the characters and I…

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Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘The Stone Mermaid’ by Aisha Urooj

Introducing author Aisha Urooj who shares an exclusive excerpt of dark fantasy romance ‘The Stone Mermaid’.

Victor was thinking about her again.

The sea witch’s son had a fascination, an obsession even, with Ariana. Victor’s obsession was even more unusual, seeing it was everyone else that fell for him. He could charm anyone with his smile. He could even captivate them further with his magic.

All he desired in the oceans was his to take, all except for her. And that made him want her more.

Ariana was the sea king’s daughter. The most beautiful mermaid in the seven seas.

Sure, her siren cousins were more alluring… even more agreeable, but there was something about her he couldn’t get off his mind. Was it her voice? Was it her physical beauty? Or was it something else?

Victor’s brand of magic had no effect on the mermaid, nor did Ariana fall for his charms.

If only she had a weakness? Victor thought. Something he could mould or bend towards his will… but Ariana had no desires, except to be free.

Hers was an odd desire… Her freedom.. but Victor thought he knew why.

Ariana’s mother was a human, kidnapped by the sea king, and brought against her will to his watery kingdom. Mad in love and lust, he made a bargain with the sea witch, Ursula, Victor’s mother.

If the sea king’s love had been greater than his lust, he would have sought Helena’s heart first.

But he didn’t.

Ursula told Brutus it could be done… that he could have his human bride, and she could live with him under water, if he gave away some of his kingdom to her. Now, the sea king ruled the seven seas, but the darkest and deepest corners of his kingdom belonged to the sea witch.

For as long as she lived, Helena, Ariana’s mother, never loved the sea king. She was bound to him against her will, a bird in a gilded cage, or in her case, trapped in a floating crystal palace under the sea. Helena never forgot… but for all her sorrow, she dearly loved her daughter. Ariana was the reason she didn’t fade away sooner.

As she grew up, Helena told Ariana stories about the human world, the wonders, and magic of the land above the oceans. Though she never uttered a word of complaint to her daughter, she made Ariana promise to prize her freedom above everything, and guard it with her life. Helena died when Ariana was sixteen. Ariana remembered the promise she made to her mother.

Victor had cared for Ariana’s mother because of her gentle nature. Queen Helena’s kindness was a stark contrast to his own mother, Ursula. He had watched the queen fade with each passing year.

So Victor understood Ariana’s reason…

“Ariana is a creature of the sea, and I am not forcibly taking her away from her realm,” Victor mused. “I am not as brutal as the old king.”

Victor knew Ariana, unlike her human mother, was born an immortal being.

Her magic might be delayed, but she was still immortal.

“I have an eternity to change Ariana’s mind,” Victor said to himself. “She will be mine.”

——-

For her seventeenth birthday, Helena requested to her father she wanted to see the ocean.

Seventeen years she had lived in this world without seeing a glimpse of an ocean wave. Her father thought it was an odd birthday present to ask for, but since it didn’t cost him anything except a few days’ journey, he agreed. They had a good harvest that year, and he could afford to spend a few days away.

Helena’s siblings were five and six, too young to be fascinated by anything other than toys. They were also too young for the journey, so they stayed behind with their mother.

Helena’s step-mother thought her husband spoiled her oldest daughter, but didn’t say a word. She knew Helena hardly asked for anything. It was impossible that he would deny his favorite daughter’s only request, she thought, so she didn’t bother to stop them.

Helena and her father, the farmer, went on the journey to see the ocean.

Helena loved her birthday present! She had seen nothing so big as the ocean. Her world instantly stretched bigger than the farm she was used to seeing.

Helena played with the seashells and sang songs to the waves. She liked looking at the waves crashing onto the shore, but she didn’t like being in the water. She found the water too cold for her liking. Helena had been playing near the rocks when she first saw him.

He was a strange-looking boy. His eyes were the same color as the ocean, as if they had captured the waves in them. He looked seventeen, the same age as Helena, but seemed much older.

“Can I know your name?” he asked.

“My name is Helena,” Helena replied.

“So you like singing, Helena? You have a beautiful voice,” he said.

Helena blushed at his compliment.

She saw the strange boy every day while she was near the ocean. Every time, he seemed to appear out of nowhere. Every time, he disappeared when her father was around.

Sometimes Helena thought that perhaps the boy was imaginary, a figment of her imagination. Her step-mother had often said that she daydreamed too much. She said it was not a good trait for a girl to have. She said Helena should learn to be practical.

“Where do you live?” Helena asked him one day.

“I live in an underwater kingdom. Would you like to see it?” he asked.

His answer surprised Helena. Perhaps she really was in a daydream?

Helena shook her head. “I am only here for a few days, and then I will return to my farm. I don’t even know how to swim well.”

“I can teach you,” the strange boy offered.

“I don’t like to be away from my family,” Helena answered truthfully. “I don’t like the water, for it is too cold.”

“I can give you a ring which will help you in the water. You won’t feel cold anymore,” the boy said.

He showed her a ring which had a single pink pearl. Helena thought that it must have been pricey, for it was precious. She remembered how her father had warned her not to accept gifts from strangers.

“I cannot accept such a gift. It probably costs more than my entire village!” Helena exclaimed.

The ring that the boy gave Helena was worth more than all the villages combined. It was an immortality ring, and once the wearer wore it, they gained eternal life.

“Please accept it as my gift. Wherever you go, if you wear it and call my name, I will come to you,” the boy said.

“What is your name?” Helena asked. Helena thought she was so silly, she hadn’t even asked the strange boy his name.

“My name is Brutus,” the sea king replied. “Wear the ring, Helena, and call me only when you are ready to go with me.”

“Ok, Brutus. I will accept your gift as I want to see you again,” Helena said, blushing, as she took the pretty ring.

That was the last she saw of the strange boy as she left the ocean with her father back to her village. She put the ring in a safe place and forgot about it for an entire year.

Next harvest season, her father had a poor yield. It worried the family as they did not have enough food to last through the winter. Helena thought about the precious ring she had hidden away. Perhaps she could give it to her father? He could sell it and it would solve all their problems.

She thought about Brutus and wondered if what he said was true.

“I will try it on before I give the ring to father,” Helena thought. She put the ring on and called Brutus’ name.

Brutus appeared in front of her, out of nowhere. He looked like an apparition under the dark starless sky. Although Helena had not thought about him in a year, Brutus had remembered her every moment since. He had gone mad thinking about her.

“Helena, you put on the ring and called my name. You wish to come with me to my kingdom,” Brutus said with happiness.

“I am sorry, Brutus. I was not thinking about going. I just wanted to see what you had said was true… that I didn’t just imagined meeting you,” Helena said flustered.

“You cannot go back on your word now,” Brutus said in anger. “You have put the ring on and so, you will leave with me.” He took Helena in his arms and took her back to his kingdom.

The next morning, the farmer called Helena for breakfast but she didn’t reply. It was strange as she usually was the first person to wake up. It shocked her father to find Helena’s bedroom empty. The farmer looked for her desperately everywhere in the village, hoping she had gone to see a friend, but Helena was nowhere to be seen.

His oldest daughter had gone missing without a trace.

The villagers gossiped she must have run away with a man, but her father knew his daughter and knew she would never do such a thing.

He felt that something terrible must have happened to her as Helena loved her family. She wouldn’t leave her father like that. She wouldn’t leave her brother and sister like that. He wept for his missing daughter.

The farmer searched for his missing daughter for years, but he died without ever seeing or hearing from his daughter again.

——-

Ursula, the sea witch, was pacing in her throne room. Her sea serpents twisted and turned as they swam around her arms. Her crown of dark pearls visible on her head. Victor knew the powerful, raw magic that it contained.

Victor stood idly by, knowing better to ask her what was wrong. The kingdom feared his mother above all the other powerful creatures in the ocean, and they had good reason to. Ursula was the empress of the dark lands but her ambition was to rule the entire ocean.

“Making Helena’s immortality ring cost me half my magic. I should have asked the sea king for half his kingdom. He might have given it all away too,” Ursula said to her son.

Victor had heard the conversation before. He was sure it wasn’t the last time he would hear it.

“You underestimate the old man,” Victor replied, coolly.

“And you overestimate him. He is foolish, driven to madness by a mortal woman. At least he was driven by bodily desires… which is easier to satisfy. His daughter is even more foolish than her father,” Ursula said. “She is driven by something far more dangerous.”

Victor’s heart started beating fast. It did whenever his mother mentioned Ariana. He evened his breath before asking.

“What do you suggest drives her?” Victor asked, curious to know what his mother would say.

“Her heart… and that will be her undoing. I might get my kingdom yet,” Ursula cackled.

Victor didn’t want to argue with his mother, so he smiled politely.

Ursula might have been right about Ariana, but she was still blind in one regard. The sea witch didn’t realize it was her son’s heart she needed to worry about.

Victor first noticed Ariana at her mother’s funeral. He had seen her before, of course, playing with her siren cousins, or in the background, whenever he went to the king’s court with his mother.

Ariana was sixteen when he really noticed her.

Her grief at her mother’s passing made her solemn and pale. She trembled as she spoke to her cousins. When it was time for her to say farewell to her mother, she looked so frail that Victor worried she might faint.

The queen’s subjects had come in droves to say their farewell to their beloved ruler. Most were in tears, and some even wailing in their sadness. Helena’s kind spirit had touched so many, her gentle presence missed by all who knew her. They asked Ariana to sing for her mother, to share her grief with them.

Grief-stricken as she was, Ariana was still her mother’s daughter. Her entire body, and even her voice, was trembling when she said she would sing them a song. She felt the pain others were feeling and wanted to lessen their sorrow.

When Ariana stood in front of the large court, Victor was struck by how fragile she looked. When Ariana sang, it was like his world shifted. For the first time, eighteen-year-old Victor felt his heart stir, and his palms tremble.

Love is a force like no other, capable of stirring even the strongest of hearts. Victor felt the full force of it that day, as Ariana sang at her mother’s funeral.

There were thousands of others in the court, but all were silent as Ariana started singing in her beautiful voice:

Floating above the muddy water,

Have you seen the lotus flower?

In waters, dark and tainted,

Pure was the beauty that awaited.

What started as a simple bud,

Grew in splendor up above.

The petals, pink and white

Layers in a circle, open with light.

Floating above the muddy water,

Have you seen the lotus flower?

The song was about a lotus flower, but Victor knew Ariana was singing about her mother.

Victor was now twenty-one, and Ariana was nineteen. The funeral was three years ago, and Victor had seen Ariana several times since. Whenever he saw her, however, his heart pounded the same way as it did hearing her sing that day.

This is an excerpt of dark fantasy romance ‘The Stone Mermaid’ by Aisha Urooj which is available now.

For more information about the author check out her website here.

‘Hearts and Spears’ by Somto Jefferson Uwazie – Review

A unique and thought provoking collection of emotion-resonating poetry…

Hearts and Spears is a unique and thought provoking collection of emotion-resonating poetry that covers a multitude of subjects. From deep emotion all the way to politics and even nature Somto Jefferson Uwazie has left no stone unturned while constructing this journey that readers will enjoy every word of. There’s a certain balance of rhythm within these words that stretches across all of the poems – something that resonated with me because many poetry collections feel like they are mashed together but in this book they feel like they are supposed to be there side by side to convey a wide array of emotion.

There are some real moments where our kind poet has shared some life experiences such as losing a beloved pets and even his love for food. So many inputs represent the social element of life from the value of teachers to the wonderful but endangered species of Africa. We see pictures and illustrations throughout that heighten the senses and add value to the journey. Every poem is them crowned with a quote to remember from a famous figure and even some from our host. For anyone looking to take a journey of variety through some wonderfully crafted poetry then this is the one for you!

“Life offers one omnipresent constant,

Hope hope and even more hope… “

5 Stars – Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads

Question of the Hour Presents: Author Marc Watson

Happy Wednesday everyone! Today I present an awesome and in-depth ‘Question of the Hour’ interview by a fellow author and blogger.

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“A dark, comical acid trip with death as your guide.”An outstanding job on mixing everyday life with the unknown. An enjoyable read filled with humor and emotion. You will surely enjoy the trip. -My review of Death Dresses Poorly

Another outstanding author that has done me the gracious pleasure of answering my random questions about writing. Here is Marc Watson.

Why do you write?

The short, sexy writer answer is that I write to get the stories in my head into your hands so that we can go on this journey together. The more realistic answer is that I get bored easily and need to fill the time. The truth is somewhere in between.

What do you get out of it?

There is a certain satisfaction to having my written creation be something that someone else wants to willingly consume, which is a fantastic feeling.

I also enjoy showing…

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