‘House of Tigers’ by William Burton McCormick – Review

‘We’re innocent lambs in a house of hungry tigers…’

William Burton McCormick has constructed a cleverly plotted murder mystery where two unlikely characters band together quite literally to decipher the unexpected unfolding before them.

In the backdrop are swarms of mosquitos that threaten anyone outdoors and so immediately the locked in atmosphere presents itself from the very start as ‘Inspector Ilya Dudnyk’ arrives at Aristov Manor. His job is to oversee an Oligarch family inheritance dilemma but soon realises like most high stakes financial situations, blood has a tendency to be spilled. Even though he is seemingly on the side of the law, that thin blue line is blurred just a little giving readers a front row seat to the happenings that follow.

With plenty of tension and page-turning mystery vibes; the setting, characters and pace are all on point here and pull everything together well to make for a fun original reading experience. Of course there are unexpected twists and revelations in a who done it/who’s still doing it scenario as events unfold with the story.

5 Stars

Awesome Recommended Indie Reads #10

The road to reviewing indie books continues and so here are some of my recent reads, all of which I recommend!

‘The Perfect Athlete’ by Olivier Doleuze

The Perfect overview and resource for the fit and healthy conscious…

Full Review

‘SurReality’ by Matt Doyle

‘Everything that happens in SurReality is entirely real’

Full Review

‘The Mermaid From My Nightmare’ by Kristina Gallo

A thrilling and twisting tale with so much beneath the surface…

Full Review

‘Pearl Fields and the Oregon Meltdown’ by Drew Faraday

A unique and immersive vision of survival and life during apocalyptic times…

Full Review

‘The Liar, The Bitch and The Warmonger’ by Morton R Leader

A family affair with darker edges

Full Review

And so that wraps up another edition of Awesome Recommended Indie Reads. Keep reading and keep reviewing!

Feed My Reads Awards Nominations 2022

I’m proud to announce that I’ve been nominated by writing and reading community blogging outfit Feed My Reads for two awards!

This is both unexpected a humbling to be given any recognition for my efforts and so firstly I must thank Feed My Reads and anyone else who put me forward for these nominations. I tend to always be busy with something writing, reading or blogging based and that is without mentioning the social media rat race to contend with so knowing that my efforts have been noticed is fantastic and means a lot.

Above everything this kind gesture is proof that I am reaching the right people in the reading and writing community online and that is a dream come true.

To be thought of in such a way alongside some fantastic nominees is something I shall cherish for a long time.

The two awards I have been nominated for are:

Star of the Book Community 2022

Biggest Indie Supporter of the Year

Of course your vote and support would be appreciated.

You can vote for either by clicking here and you’ll find more information about all of the awards and nominations.

Thank you to Feed My Reads for the nominations!

Five Ways to Get more Book Reviews

Let’s face it. Finding reviews for our books is hard. The struggle is something that unites many of us who have published works out there and I’m semi obsessed with finding solutions to sometimes difficult things so here are five ways to get more book reviews.

This post first featured over on Patreon where the real party is happening. Sign up to see articles like this first as well as a huge array of other cool resources.

Selling in Quantity

This may sound obvious to some but the more units you sell, the higher chance someone will read and then review. Now there are many inputs to this concept but quantity really is the key to finding more reviews. Just how do you move books in huge quantities?

From my own experience running a free promo or a price reduction will certainly help. My best influx of reviews have come from big-time free promos where digital downloads were in the thousands.

Mentioning your work regularly across social media will also help. I do anything and everything (within reason) on my social media platforms to regularly sell books through presence and the occasional mention and if you really want to sell books, then you’ll eventually figure out a way.

Running my most recent numbers has pointed towards a review for every 100 sales I get. So maybe quantity is the key…

High End Advertising

This brings us nicely to finding some help to tell the world about your book. Paid advertising is pretty easy to find these days online but the very cream of the crop in advertising should lead you to readers who review. Premiere book promotion sites like BookBub boast to have readers who review and so this is a great place to target readers.

Having successfully clinched three BookBub Featured deals over the years, these were the very best value in terms of sales and then reviews. You can find my list of book promotion sites here.

Shouting About it

If there is one thing I can guarantee, it is every week without fail that I mention on Twitter how important reviews are for authors. Important because they help us in so many ways from finding new readers to potentially shaping our future work. The more we shout about it, the more many readers will realise and I will happily admit before being published, reviewing books wasn’t at the top of my priority so reminding readers will help the greater good.

Approach Book Bloggers

There are plenty of bookish bloggers out there looking for their next read and much like me I quite enjoy being approached by authors looking for reviews. If you offer a free digital copy in exchange for a an honest review and as long as your approach them nicely, someone will eventually say yes.

Consider joining a Review Platform

As a tenured book blogger I have my own profile over on Reedsy Discovery which is an awesome review platform that does its best to place books into the hands of reviewers from indie or self published authors. Some of these platforms have a joining fee but they will also put in the effort to pair your book with the best possible reviewer candidate.

And so that’s five ways to get more book reviews. If you have any other methods then do please drop a comment below. Thanks for reading and for more awesome resources, check out my PatreonI‘m giving away digital copies of my paranormal romance this month to all new sign ups.

Further Reading:

How I landed my 3rd BookBub Featured Deal

A guide to selling books on social media

Books not selling? A troubleshooter guide

Awesome Recommended Indie Reads #9

The road to reviewing indie books continues and so here are some of my recent reads, all of which I recommend!

‘A Stranger From the Storm’ by William Burton McCormick

Brilliant fun – a historical mystery with plenty of atmosphere

Full Review

‘Witch in the Lighthouse’ by Azalea Forrest

A quaint and fun magical tale…

Full Review

‘The View From Here’ by Leon Stevens

An exploration themed sci-fi novella not of this world…

Full Review

‘The Caverns’ by Olen Crowe

In The Caverns an ancient evil lurks…

Full Review

‘Red on White’ by J.P Biddlecome

‘The Wolves came, rising from the waves…’

Full Review

And so that wraps up another edition of Awesome Recommended Indie Reads. Keep reading and keep reviewing!

‘The Caverns’ by Olen Crowe – Review

In The Caverns an ancient evil lurks…

In the small rural town of Linston an ancient evil lurks and suddenly awakens with a whole bunch of mystery. When The Caverns; a tourist hotspot and only real economic attraction of the place begins to swallow people it soon becomes both a problem and a media circus.

What is the evil? Although deadly it has no real physical manifestation and gets into the heads of everyone in town including a group of friends who just happen to be there for a curious visit to the Linston Caverns on a road trip of sorts. There’s a good mix of cliché fun and conflict here as the town drunk lays down fair warning whilst the money driven people in charge of the attraction push to keep it open no matter how many lives are taken. Locals don’t appreciate anyone from the outside with a prying nature that may damage the towns reputation and combined with the harrowing events a perfect storm ensues. There’s a wide group of characters, some a just bit-part throwaways subjected to the evils of what lies below and others that carry the story.

For those who enjoy mystery horror with a hint of humour and the unexpected, you’ll definitely find it here.

4 Stars

Book Promotion Results – July 2022

The results are here for my latest book promotion efforts and now I am ready to share how it went and who I advertised with. Let us dive in!

Plan/Motive

With all of my book promotional efforts there’s always a wider plan and motive. So first of all, for the complete beginners, what is a book promo run? Well to me, its a short period of time where I lower the price of a book and advertise it for maximum sales.

Now I don’t advertise my work constantly apart from regular social media posting and my book selling philosophy is to be present on social media to the point where it interests potential readers to first of all engage or follow me and then buy from me. I have 30,000+ following on Twitter that regularly buys my work as long as I stay active.

The plan for this promo run was to set the price for my super hero comedy The Teleporter to free for one day and then raise the price only slightly the next day to 99 cents whilst using advertisers for both of those days. My vision was to get maximum free downloads and then hopefully some paid discounted sales after.

The Results

On the day The Teleporter was free it was downloaded over 1000 times across 9 countries! This is a fantastic number!

And here are the results for the next day with paid sales.

21 paid sales with a few trickling in after is a moderate number. It’s not world beating but good enough for me considering I already potentially have 1000+ new readers. It was also good to see page reads boosted.

Chart Movement

On the day of it being free, The Teleporter hit #1 in the Free Satire Fiction chart over in the US which is great for that little extra visibility.

Advertisers

So for most of my book promo runs I advertise with book promotion websites. They are generally good places to tell hopefully masses of readers about my books. Most book promo sites boast large mailing lists and that’s essentially what I am paying for. You can find a list of book promo sites at the bottom of this post.

Here’s who I used for this promo run.

Day 1 – The Teleporter is Free

Freebooksy Sci Fi Promotion

Book Runes Featured Free Book

Day 2 – The Teleporter is discounted to 99 cents

Fussy Librarian

Just Kindle Books

These 4 advertisers were all paid, check them out for individual pricing.

Concluding Thoughts

Not a bad promo run, in fact I consider anything over a 1000 free downloads to be a massive success. In order to move numbers with book sales its important to consider paying for advertising, although most of my promos run at a loss, the returns I get are reviews, future sales and readers.

Thank you for reading and below you shall find some resources to help with your own promo efforts.

Want to know how I have mastered Twitter and turned it into a book selling machine? Check out my Patreon coaching sessions which lay out book promotion and much more!

A Concise List of Book Promotion Sites

My guide book lays everything out in detail plus there is a whole section dedicated to my many successful book promo runs I have done over the years!

Let’s Talk About… Twitter Statistics

Converting any kind of social media traction into sales, follows or anything else is really really hard. It takes a boat-load of dedication, time, patience and the sheer will to move mountains to sometimes feel like you are making any progress – that’s how it feels to me every so often but it is not impossible to turn your social media into some level of success. This post will highlight the difficulty us creatives can face on social media whilst also providing a few solutions to help move the needle.

The inspiration for this post came from my recent ‘break’ from social media, now I say ‘break’ but really I just reduced my efforts for a few weeks for a little self repair. For all the things social media can be, it can be a drain on one’s mental health and can also be addictive so its good to take a break every now and then and focus on the to-do list.

Tip: When it comes to social media, you always come first. So does your mental health. There is no shame in practicing self-care and you can only do what you can do. Take a break if you need to.

For someone who has built their Twitter presence from zero to 30,000+ it took a long time to get to where I am now and so I went forth into this recent break knowing the majority of my numbers across platforms along with sales would drop, and I was right.

So for perspective, let us look at the Twitter numbers for May before I reduced my presence and tweeting whilst cross referencing that with book sales:

Now everyone’s Twitter is different, including numbers but May was an awesome month for me which was mainly driven by the grey bars on this graphic which represents Tweets. In simple terms, the more you Tweet, the more you get back eventually.

For me, any impressions over 20k a day is the sweet spot and means good things should eventually happen such as more followers and even book sales. Anything below that for a period of time and everything slows down. Because everyone’s Twitter is different, you’ll probably have a different sweet s[pt number. Using the Twitter analytics via the browser version should help you dive deeper into your own numbers.

Here are my book sales for that period:

Now these a pretty good numbers, with a little paid advertising thrown in at the mid point but most of my regular day-to-day sales come from Twitter and so I have to keep those numbers up.

Let us now look at what happens if I reduce my Tweeting which I did in June.

The numbers pretty much halved and then after the 60k spike, they dropped below that ‘sweet spot’ and over time the sales dipped.

So the numbers say it all. Less tweeting for me equals way less regular sales. Now by July I decided to do something about this and began upping my Tweeting. It took a few days but I managed to push the numbers back up to that ‘sweet spot’ and even sold a book for my efforts.

I keep a close eye on the Analytics of my Twitter and its pretty good for indicating what is needed to get the numbers up. But what was I Tweeting about?

Tip: As long as it aims to inspire, inform, entertain, give value or incentive then a Tweet with these things should be well-received eventually. Quantity is key.

Now this post is just a slice of the Twitter pie and you can read so much more for free via the resources section of this very blog.

If you want a detailed deep dive at how I have turned my Twitter into a book selling machine then do check out my Twitter Coaching Sessions here. As you can see one of my students A-M is benefitting from it. Thanks for reading!

‘Pirate Sea’ by Kyler Kuehler – Review

A swashbuckling and sometimes brutal tale packed with action

Pirate Sea is a page-turning swashbuckling tale with a brutal edge that follows young ‘James Vane’ as he is captured by a band of pirates in the 1700’s. The writing style is both a befitting tribute to the famous pirate tales seen in classic literature whilst also having a modern feel.

Not long after readers are introduced to the story do we see events turn for the worst for young ‘James’ as his father’s ship is intercepted by the infamous pirate vessel known as the ‘Blood Revenge’ and helmed by Captain ‘Scar Eye’ – I enjoyed the naming here, it felt both original and familiar which hit the right tones for a pirate themed story. Soon enough those events turn brutal which is something that rings true from real history, this isn’t just the glamour of swords and sails, its gritty and violent. This is also a sign of things to come.

“He was pure pirate and reasoning with pure pirate was impossible”

A quote that sums up the journey James would have to take in this story to find any kind of redemption or escape and there is a heap of character development as he adjusts to these new pirate surroundings. It is during this journey that he discovers a history that is very close and personal and with it comes a tale I very much enjoyed.

4 Stars