How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal By S.D. McKinley – Review

An entirely unique and original page-turning journey of variety on the open road…   

LJ and Rom

Somewhere between unique, random and fun is where you’ll find How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal which is a road trip story with a difference. This unique tale is told with imagination that makes for perfect escapism while also carrying an intelligence with snappy dialogue, fun characters and interesting encounters. 

Main characters LJ and Rom decide that they are done with rally car racing and decide to make a pilgrimage of sorts across country along the open road to save their close friend. The action picks up quickly and doesn’t let off the gas near enough all the way through page turning chapters where our heroes come across a multitude of ‘out there’ experiences from trashing motel rooms rock and roll style, fixing their vehicle, high speed racing to even the supernatural and everything else in between. The unpredictable is at play here, making it feel like the story could go anywhere next and it does. There are even zombies!

In most logical circumstances everything in this story shouldn’t work, but it does and the style of writing just flows and works flawlessly in what is one of the most original books I have ever come across. It’s clear that the imagination of S.D McKinley is one of a gifted story teller with an original voice.

5 Stars – A real interesting and fun read. Thanks to the author for providing a copy in exchange for am honest review. Reviews also left on Amazon and Goodreads. 

Bookbub Ads – an abject failure

Here at the Hall of Information we are always on the look-out for proven techniques that work on the subject of book promotion. Even though this operation is small, we still try our best to pass on all experiences and results, good or bad for the greater good of fellow wordsmiths looking to get their work out into the wider world. Well it was only a matter of time until a bad one came along, or shall we say a ‘not so good’ one. Right now I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed…

This week I took a dive into the complicated, convoluted world of Bookbub advertising. Now first let me determine that this is not the ‘featured deal’ advertising you can apply for which they will probably reject, but in fact another service via their ‘partners’ site. Anyone can pretty much sign up and get advertising straight away or so they say. 

You are asked to fill in boxes with your book’s URL, and the whole thing is pretty standard if you are comparing to other advertisers. But then it gets a little complicated as you are asked to find an audience who will potentially click on what is essentially a thumbnail sized pop up that will appear in their inboxes the next time Bookbub sends them a circular. This is essentially what the advert is, a small pop up of your cover and 60 characters to hook someone into clicking on it. Did I hook someone? Anyone? Just one person? Find out below…

It isn’t really explained whether broad or specific audiences are preferable. Specific would target individuals most likely to buy I suppose? When I reached the green area it suggested I’m on track (unlike the example below) and so after putting a few Darke Blood related author tags and genres into this targeting thing, it seemed to be happy.

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Next you are asked about date ranges, budget and then of course more complicated things known as ‘Bid’ which is an impressions based of clicks budget – again very convoluted for the layman author looking to sling a few ebooks. I selected a continuous option because the ambition in me just imagined the sales rolling in…

So after fudging around with the figures – figures I cannot show you because Bookbub have already deleted the campaigns I put on pause – I was ready to go. My first campaign looked a little like this…

Daily Budget $15 

Bid ‘CPM’ Budget $9ish 

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There are more than shadows lurking in the darkness…

(Imagine a jazzy background)

 

 

Buy now

 

 

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I guran-damn-tee somebody who stumbles upon this here post, even in ten years time will click on that buy now button, but when my ad ran for 24 hours, with over 200 impressions, not one person clicked on it…

Ok, so maybe it was me, not being able to navigate the system probably. So the very next day I tried again, and changed a few things. By lunchtime I was done. No clicks and me left wondering what I did wrong, like everyday… I don’t have time to figure out over complicated advertisement algorithms, and maybe you do, but I’ve got books to write.

My total spend on this abject failure was $17.69 and I know for a fact I can get book sales for less than that. In fact I have, with my Bookbub featured deal last year I spent $86.00 and sold 66 books that day. But the many other promo sites I’ve used have given me a way better return.

My advice would be to go elsewhere. Of course my book promo lists/results can be found in the many posts I have put out there previously. Here are a couple of recents:

Book Promo Results March 2020

Book Promo Results September 2019

Final Thought: 

Straight after I was done failing at Book bub ads, I cobbled together this little mock up via an online photo shop site. Seeing as I just got a fresh review, I quoted it and then put it up on the Tweet machine.

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As you can see the results are 3 times better than bookbub ads, and not a dime was spent…

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The moral of the story, not all advertisers work, and neither do I… Be wise with your money and don’t just dive into something…

Weekly Writing Inspiration…

Because if I can do it, anyone can so how about some motivational propaganda to start the month of right! And let us start with some very wise words…

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Darke Blood got it’s latest review via Goodreads; this has been especially rewarding after new marketing idea!

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It’s a bargain, but I’m not so sure about the story….

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AMIRIGHT….

Shout out to S.D McKinley for this awesome review of Open Evening

OE review

Word of the month…

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And Finally, ‘Every Stephen King Book; even the ones that aren’t macabre or supernatural still finds a way to be depraved…’ 

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Have a good rest of the week, and have a good month! Rock and roll man…

Weekly Ramble #69

From every shit-uation there are positives and good eventual outcomes. People have a lot more time now. The hustle and bustle of life’s busyness has slowed down and even I can feel people are taking their time to do things they didn’t before.

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These are the best sales I’ve ever had outside of Book promo

Book reviews are up. Book sales are up. And social media engagement is up. I’m even writing new stuff. I’ve always tried to justify my place in the arena with both books and a presence and it’s times of struggle like this that people look for reads and people who are carrying on in the face of adversity.

Writers and artists are needed even more so and while the social media socialite types who produce nothing are being starved out of attention, people are looking to genuine content creators and it gets no more genuine than a book or a blog.

We’ll look back on this time as one of invisible pressure and hardship. But take those away and you’ll find it was a period where we all had time to read that book, watch that show or paint that wall. 

All of a sudden this will be over and we’ll be back in the arms of friends, family and even co workers. We’ll forget what it truly means to be isolated and away from groups. We’re a herd species, until recently anyway.  The rat race will resume and it will all be forgotten. Humans have a fickle way of carrying on. Whether it comes from a vaccine or even medication, we’ll beat it, we’re too resilient not to I salute all of those carrying on in the face of this adversity – by carrying on I mean, writing a few words a day, speaking to friends over skype, cooking that meal, staying busy; we’ll get through, we always do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darke Blood – FREE To Download Right Now!

Book Promo Activated!

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Darke Blood is FREE to download today and tomorrow! The sequel drops this September check out the trailer here…

Grab yourself a copy of Darke Blood here…

Blurb:

The Order of the Following Series.

“There are more than shadows lurking in the darkness of those trees.”

Blake Malone is in search of a new start and arrives in the remote forest town of Darke Heath. The memory of his past mysteriously becomes a blur as he discovers this place isn’t what it seems.

Malone shares a romantic encounter with a woman named Caitlyn and she reveals herself to be a ‘creature of the night’. He learns of her story which intertwines with the history of the ‘Heath’. Together they must face the evil forces of vampirism and witchcraft that await them in the Darke forest.

But just who is Blake Malone? That’s something even he must fight to discover. Because ‘you’ve never known true darkness…’ 

 

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Other books in the series: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nocturnal Farm by Villimey Mist – Review

A flawless and fresh vampire tale full of mystery and unexpected twists…

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Although it may appear to begin rather slowly the reader is introduced to a world where main character Leia Walker is still reeling from her previous encounter six months before and it casts a shadow over her life. This slower pace works incredibly well in depicting Leia’s struggle with not only what happened in the past but to also highlight her anxiety and OCD which she is fighting everyday. She is stronger in this story and displays a realistic amount of character development. For readers who haven’t experienced the events of ‘Nocturnal Blood’ or haven’t read it for a while are reminded during this opening which gives this story it’s own stand-alone power.

Most sequels struggle to live up to the first experience while attempting to be bigger where as Nocturnal Farm carves it’s own unique and sometimes unexpected path without just throwing more vampires and action into the mix. It’s grounded and realistic for a story in this genre. There is a genuine original story where the plot is carried by a rescue mission which differs from last time with the two girls on the run concept.

Villimey Mist has found her voice in writing and delivers a story that is well structured well paced. There were portions of this book where I could have easily been reading a high end fiction story about the likes of ‘Jason Bourne’ as he explored a European city looking for answers much like Leia Walker. We get more from characters who perhaps played minor roles last time while also being introduced to some newer fresh faces. In this world of ‘Vampires’, ‘Sangues’, ‘Ghouls’ and ‘Hunters’ is a a lot of potential that is used well in this book. The journey to the ending was carried by several twists and revelations finally closing with a ‘what if’ scenario that has most probably been burning in the back of most readers minds leaving it very much open for another sequel. 

Nocturnal Farm is a book I would highly recommend!

5 Stars –  A fantastic read, thank you to the author for providing an ARC. Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads. 

 

 

 

The Ghost Beside Me Official Book Launch!

Yeah I don’t do lavish book launches… you’re over there and I’m here so unless we do some kind of Skype/LAN party this is as good as it gets!

My 5th book ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ is officially launched today, with the paperback going live which you can grab on Amazon for less than $5

The e version is less than $2!

I am more than happy to send you a free e-copy in exchange for an honest review!

 

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I think we can all agree that Design For Writers have put together an incredible cover! 

Already some well read and well cultured types have downloaded it when it became available a few days previous – shout out to those awesome people! Within hours of being added to Goodreads we already got a review! Thank you to awesome author E.H Night for the rating! 

Review

2019 has been a damn important year for me in terms of interaction. I’ve been acquainted with so many awesome fellow authors and bloggers whom I am proud to call my friend. This book launch is dedicated to all of you who have proven to me that this whole writing journey is worth sticking with!

For those who do grab a copy, remember to leave a review! Peace out, rock and roll man! 

Book links: (I should probably include them somewhere) 

UK PAPERBACK LINK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/171328829X

UK E- BOOK LINK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0825DY6VB

INTERNATIONAL PAPERBACK LINK: https://www.amazon.com/dp/171328829X

INTERNATIONAL E-BOOK LINK: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0825DY6VB

 If you aren’t UK or Amazon.COM this book should still be available wherever you are! 

I can send you a free e-copy in exchange for a review! Hit me up in the comments! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘The Ghost Beside Me’ Official Cover Reveal!

‘The Ghost Beside Me’ is coming next week and well I should probably share with ya’ll the rather spectacular looking book cover which was literally finished today!

Scroll down to check it out. If you ask me I think it’s incredible and Design For Writers have yet again done an amazing job!

So what is ‘Ghost’ about? Well in a few words, it’s about a lot of things. It’s first and foremost a ghost story and a love story combined. The book is dedicated to the memory of my Grandfather whom when I was quite young told me and my brother a ghost story which I still think to this day is true. With that dedication comes a story inspired by that and an opportunity for me to deliver an important message that the people we have in our live’s may leave but their influence never goes away and they are always with us.

The story is also about overcoming the adversities our own mind can create such as anxiety and loneliness which is such an important thing we must all talk about more. For quite a short book there’s a lot going on and I do hope you will all join me for it’s release hopefully next week! 

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Book Promo Results September 2019

At the Hall of Information we believe that sharing is caring. Especially when it comes to book promotion methods and results. We don’t keep secrets from fellow authors in fact we promote helping the efforts of others in every possible way. We’re all crawling through the shit storm of life together so we might as well help each other right?

Here are the official results of my latest book promotion that ran last week and more importantly how I got them…

Brief interlude… 

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For 2019 one of my top objectives was to get more exposure for my vampire novel ‘Darke Blood’. The plan always was to make the e-version free to download in September and so I did that – (beginners you can make any title free for a brief time via Kindle Direct Publishing as long as it is enrolled in KDP select (ask the google for more info) )

Like my usual book promo runs, I set ‘Darke Blood’ to be free from Wednesday to Friday – how you arrange days may have some effect on sales. Weekend dates can be good sometimes, Sundays have worked well previously but I normally adopt the weekday method.

The last time I had made ‘DB’ free was back in February of 2018, so it’s been a while, the results back then were north of 1000 downloads. So taking into account it had been a while and the fact my readership has grown since then along with the accumulation of a few more reviews I had some optimism that ‘DB’ would do quite well.

Side note: Vampire stories are no way dead (no pun intended), even after the monstrosity that was Twilight, they are still a pretty popular niche, trust me. And I salute anyone who enjoys stories of this genre along with those who write them! 

Results

During the promotional run ‘Darke Blood’ was downloaded 3,402 times!

All previous free promotional records were broken on the Wednesday. (Day 1)

With reference to the below screen grabs you can see things jumped up a notch in the space of an hour on day 1.

 

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This is without mentioning the chart placement it got over on Amazon US.

Not once or twice but THRICE charts… This is a big tip for those looking to get more eyes on your books. There are plenty of charts out there that aren’t as ‘busy’ or populated making it easier climb and get number 1 or even ‘best seller’ status…

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By the close of Day 1 ‘Darke Blood’ came near to 3000 downloads but I had to settle for 2,933 – an impressive feat.

Day’s two and three were less impressive but still commendable with 369 and 97 respectively pushing the total past 3000 in total but on day 3 it wasn’t the only book of mine up for grabs!

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I sneakily set my super hero comedy novella ‘The Teleporter’ for free on Day 3. And the booziest hero of them all stole the day with a total of 88 units downloaded.

This is impressive because I hardly promoted ‘The Teleporter’ apart from a cheeky Facebook ad and other social media shout outs.

So overall in 3 days my books were downloaded 3,402 times!

How I got these results and factors which governed them… 

Every book is different, and the success of a free promotional run is governed by a ton of factors such as:

Amount of reviews good or bad – having all good reviews for a title isn’t necessary a good thing, in fact ‘Darke Blood’ is one of my most subjective books, it’s rating isn’t exactly the highest which may have helped.

Recent reviews – If your title has some recent reviews, people know it’s recently been read, I’ve had the luck of getting some higher profile reviews this year for ‘DB’ from awesome bloggers Thinking Moon  Mullen Crafts and Feed the Crime – this helped big time!

Current Events – Only days before putting ‘DB’ up for free I pondered via a blog post about whether or not the sequel will ever see the light of day. This post unintentionally stirred up some interest. And yes the sequel will be happening in 2020.

Timing – The transition from Summer to Autumn brings the promise of Halloween, folks love a spiced latte and a good spooky book to read; ‘Darke Blood’ is just that and another top tip for anyone writing horror, thriller or occult – I have made the most sales of these genres in September! People love the build up to Halloween!

Following – As opposed to last year my following is way bigger, people won’t buy your book if they don’t know about it, this may be the greatest lament and struggle of all authors everywhere. This blog has been nominated for 4 awards this year and we now have 400 plus followers. My Tweet machine following is in the high 2000’s – way more than last year.

Investment – If you want a book to sell, for free or at a price, you have to invest money in doing so…

So how exactly did I get 3000 plus downloads? With the above combined factors and my big secret… Book promotion websites – this isn’t really a secret.

How do book promo sites work? Essentially you pay them to tell people about your promo –  they all boast to have access to several thousand followers via email and social media so you are simply paying to use this mode of distribution and the truth is, it works! There are even some sites who take on submissions for free.

My tip when dealing with such sites is to always pay via paypal.

The whole concept with using promo sites is to ‘stack’ the promotion by using multiple sites over the days…

The big secret – Book Promo websites  (paid and unpaid)

I invested around $100 for this promo – probably the most I have ever spent. It sounds like a lot but the results were awesome and worth it.

Here’s a list of sites I used.

Paid:

https://www.freebooksy.com/for-the-authors/   – Promoted on Wednesday

https://pretty-hot.com/submit-your-book/       – Promoted on Thursday

https://awesomegang.com/submit-your-book/    – Promoted on Thursday

Free Sites:

https://discountbookman.com/book-promotion/   – Promoted on Wednesday

http://www.free99books.com/author/add – Promoted on Friday

https://www.bookzio.com/promote-your-book-2/ – Promoted on all 3 days

http://bookangel.co.uk/  – Promoted on all 3 days

http://www.ebooklister.net/submit.php – Promoted on all 3 days

https://ebookshabit.com/ – Promoted on all 3 days

http://bookbongo.com/submit/  – Promoted on all 3 days

Other methods of promo – Facebook 

There are other ways to spread the word about a promotion. Amazon offer their own ad service which I didn’t find much success with previous and even though Facebook aren’t the most reputable bunch they do have access to a lot of people if you place an ad with them.

I boosted two of my posts from my main author page and as you can see ‘DB’ did quite well. The ad set up in FB is pretty complex and detailed but if you can figure it out you can target the right folks.

It’s especially effective for free promotions, convincing people to vote Brexit and getting Trump into power… I deleted my FB app last year for a while, it did me the world of good, even now I don’t look at FB that much. But all satire and opinions aside, the ‘DB’ promo did quite well.

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Outlook…

The hope is that some folks now read Darke Blood and then leave a review. The KENP page read tracker is already showing numbers and I have since sold more books.

For those looking to take on more of my work both ‘Open Evening’ and ‘Cemetery House’ will be available for free sometime in the next month or a little after.

If you missed the free run of Darke Blood or The Teleporter get in touch and I shall send the e version out to you for free in exchange for a review!

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And so that wraps up my latest book promotional efforts. Let me take this opportunity to thank everyone for sharing the links, leaving reviews and helping the efforts of your friendly independently published author! 

Remember to leave a review!

 

9 Reasons why you should read Indie Books!

I’ve read 9 indie books since the last time I did a wrap up post. So consider this a review of my reviews and here at the Hall of information we pride ourselves on promoting authors of all persuasions especially indies! So here goes with 9 reasons why your next read should be indie…

Prophecy Girl by Ravin Tija Maurice reads like a crime mystery, and is mostly a crime mystery but eventually the reader is taken down the rabbit hole and that abyss is shared with Vampires!

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As quoted from my June review ‘the ideas of realistic crime being fused with magic and vampires is an odd but unique pairing. Author Ravin Tija Maurice has obviously worked hard to execute this and has done so by way of a well written novel…’

The news is that Prophecy Girl has a sequel and so the story of main character ‘Camille Bishop’ continues with ‘Believer’ which is out now!

Next up I took on a series of shorter stories which are all part of ‘The Night Audit’ Series by Bruce Knapp. These quick fire fun tales follow Zach as he takes on a new job as night auditor for a hotel. He finds himself in a range of situations from the straight up gross out hilarious to the baffling and strange. I thorougly enjoyed each one and here are my thoughts on them:

So it begins -A fun and intriguing but very relatable short story…

so it begins

Nights of Hell – Working nights can mess with one’s head…

nights of hell

Guy’s Night out -A hilarious account of one drunken night out…

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The Phantom -Strange happenings in the Stay Over-Nite hotel

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Dirty Lawyers -Fun gross out comedy…

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Next up my reviews of the ‘Quantum Series’ by Christina Engela continued when I read ‘The Time Saving Agency’ which is the second book in the series.

Quantum Series #2 - The Time Saving Agency 2019 - FrontI thoroughly enjoyed this story which fused elements of time travel to the already established quirky futuristic universe that Engela has constructed, referring to my review here’s what I said:

‘Christina Engela has created a story that follows not only a similar concept of the previous entry into the Quantum series but one that fuses those ideas with something completely different and original. Written in a way that sometimes tributes Terry Pratchett, yet again readers will find this story quirky and clever with a style that confides in the reader.’

These stories also take a big step towards positivity for the LGBT community by being unclusive to characters of all persuasions but it’s done in a manner that gives the subject a level of normalcy; something that is needed today! Plus there’s a talking plant, it’s pretty awesome. I shall be reading the next story in the series very soon!

Next up comes a book that probably has one of the most unique premises I have ever seen and read; I am talking about The Good Audit by C.P Aiden.

good auditAs quoted from my review it’s ‘Enjoyable, clever and original’ but what exactly is the Good Audit about?

‘C.P Aiden has put together a story that on the surface appears to be about the trials of auditing and finance but in fact it’s about everything else that comes with the territory. This book is so well written and concise you could argue it’s use as a teaching aid for the profession and I mean that in the highest regard even though I am layman to all things finance I found myself able to follow and enjoy everything that was happening.’

I haven’t read anything like this book ever and you don’t have to be knowledgeable in the subject matter to get it. All you have to do is read it and find out. There’s something in this book that everyone can relate to from the world of work.

My final and 9th read but by no means least comes in the form of a truly addictive and very readable story called ‘The Four Before Me’ by E.H Night.

the 4I took me around 3 days to finish reading this story which follows the new girl in town trope but becomes so much more. My very recent review quotes:

‘The Four Before Me leans a little towards cliche but it works in an original way that keeps readers guessing throughout. It’s the late 80’s and Alice our main character; moves to small town ‘Wintersburg’ in search of a new start from the big city and to perhaps be closer to her now deceased Grandmother’s roots. Soon after her arrival she learns that four women are currently missing and that’s when the chilling coincidences begin. I say coincidence but that’s only if you believe in such things and for Alice this starts to play on her mind which in turn becomes psychological – the true strength of this story. She cannot help but think of the many similarities she and the missing women have, in particular ‘Sarah’ who was in fact the previous tenant in Alice’s new place…’

What unfolds is a page turner of a novel which has chills and thrills that reminded me of Stephen King’s works- yes I thought it was that good! There’s a series of mind blowing twists in the final act which rewards the already immersed reader.

That wraps up my newest review of my book reviews and this one possibly has the best line up so far this year! Thanks for reading and remember to leave a review if you’ve read something recently!

Let me take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support of this Blog, we are near to 300 followers which is awesome because this year I started with less than 200! 

Rock and roll man!