‘Breaking the Darke Crusader’s Code’: The making of a book that almost wasn’t to be…

Some of the best moments come from the most difficult of circumstances in this funny old thing we call life. In early 2017 when I began to embrace the idea of drafting a ‘second book’ I never expected that journey, laced with internal creative difficulty and even physical health obstacles, to end up producing a book which is now my most critically and statistically acclaimed.

Of course I am talking about ‘Darke Blood’ which on the surface appears to be a vampire story, but in truth there is a hell of a lot more going on underneath the surface of just blood sucking creatures of the night. This post is a deep dive into the making of that story, and yes there will be some element of light spoilering with the intent more to advertise and spotlight the qualities of a book’s success that still fills me still with baffling but swelling pride. I’ve never really spoken about the process that goes into writing a book and they sort of get forgotten after being released. But what I went through to write ‘DB’ should be remembered, because it did not come easy and hence the swelling pride… 

Rule one in all writing: always embrace the good things that comes from it, especially the one’s you don’t expect…

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Before the books that now make up my back list (I have a back list? even that baffles me sometimes…) there was a time where I exclusively wrote science fiction with a hope to query agents, get a book deal, get a movie deal and thank the academy for giving me  this here best original screenplay award. Let’s just say the experience of getting nothing more than a few good people’s attention, none of them rhymed with Spielberg was humbling and as a writer and person, I grew up and started again mostly from scratch.

It’s never too late to start again, or even start. Starting is the first step to anything worthwhile…just start okay! 

The feeling of dropping a project that saw zero success was liberating to say the least and even though I left those sci fi books behind they stand as a testament to how I learned to write. Post writing liberation came my first foray into the world of indie publishing with a book known as ‘Open Evening’ which had some ‘success’ but before even sending that manuscript to my editor, like always I was looking to what would come next.

With 6 months until ‘Open Evening’ would see the pen of an editor I decided to get into another story which eventually became ‘Darke Blood’. My divine wisdom told me after writing a creature feature chase story with heaps of action I needed to do vampires next along with a slower more mysterious and fleshed out pace. Like everything I write, it needed to have some differential concept to the last project and the whole vampire thing would also be a tribute to probably my all time favourite character driven show – Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

What’s in a name?

Okay, so I’m doing vampires, that means the setting would need to be dark and shadowy, perhaps almost black like the night. This would tie in with the title and be both catchy and unique, something only someone searching for your work would find; and that’s a pro tip when coming to deciding title’s, make it stand out

There would be some kind of forest, one with trees where the leaves don’t fall and a town that’s small enough to realistically host vampires. In 2017 I was spending a lot of time in a place known as Iver Heath which is a neighbourhood surrounded by mostly trees and farmers fields. They have two country parks nearby one of them called ‘Black Park’ so in the beginning I just merged ‘Black’ and ‘Heath’ but it turns out Black Heath is an actual place – back to the drawing board but I was set on using ‘the Heath’ I just needed a word to put before it. Next came Dark, but as the history of the town began to spiderweb in my head, perhaps when it was established back in colonial times it would be spelled oldy worldy style and so ‘Darke Heath’ was born. Put the concept of vampires, blood and all that along side Darke, you have ‘Darke Blood’. Trust me this process sounded prettier in my head…

Black Park

Black Park in Buckinghamshire near Iver Heath in the UK

So we have a forest, it’s going to be shadowy and there’s a colonial history to the place. By the time I had reached this point, the Prologue had already been drafted. A page turning chase in the shadows where some not so happy campers are split up, they first find an old cemetery and then a house – the haunted house trope always, always has a place in my heart, it just does. At the very end of that sequence we are introduced to the perhaps slightly condescending main narrator. Open Evening had more of a pessimistic trope busting narration style, this one, straight up insulting, trust me those differences are important…

What’s in their names?

That narrator just happens to be named Blake Malone. The Blake I can’t recall settling on,  it came after I decided to use Malone which is tribute to the narrator ‘Edward Malone’ from Conan Doyle’s Lost World – a book I first read when I was 12 and then proceeded to get bitten by the literature bug. Blake Malone also shares a light Irish heritage like Edward as they both have a pale complexion and they both are recalling their account of an experience in going into the unknown.

blake quote

The second billed character and creature of the night/ bad ass ‘Caitlyn Turner’ came next. Her inspiration came from the world of video games. One of Fallout 4’s popular and bad ass companion’s is an Irish lady known as ‘Cait’. I gave her a full name and a backstory of depth and history which spans back to those colonial days and is inspired by the many episodes of ‘Angel’ that see’s a younger version of the title character in the past. She has a history of love, deception and fighting along with links to witchcraft. Her story serves as the second part of the first act and by that point should hook most readers in.

caitlyn quote

Another popular face in the lore of ‘Darke’ is the older gentleman known as ‘Angus Greene’ who is a pick up truck driving, helpful and kind country fella who’s family have been taken by the vampire threat in the Heath. His inspiration and name is tributed loosely to ‘Hershel’ from when it was popular TV show The Walking Dead. Although Angus is more of a fighter and perhaps a little more cynical. He becomes more and more of a leader in later books.

The Darke Crusader’s code

Blake Malone has arrived in Darke Heath for a ‘new start’ or so he says but after confiding in the reader only, he is actually in the Heath to investigate the findings of someone known only as the ‘Darke Crusader’ which is in fact an anonymous internet handle who has reported some weird things going on in the Heath before disappearing. This is the central motive as to why Blake has come to town but worryingly his recollection of anything before arriving is blank, and this works as the conflict our MC would overcome later on in the narrative. It also adds a unique psychological edge to the whole deal – so we’re already better than Twilight…

Much of the time during my writing process I will just throw open ended ideas into the mix, and originally what brought Blake to town was most likely going to be dealt with much later on. The Darke Crusader was originally in fact someone external from outside the character loop who would arrive and lift the dramatic lid later on, sort of like a murder mystery reveal. Unfortunately this concept didn’t really line up or work. Bearing in mind I was already 40,00 words into the book at this point and in April/May of 2017 I was suffering badly with sciatica – to the point where sitting, laying and standing hurt. Writing is still painful by the way… always.

The concept of this mysterious internet persona held everything together. After all it’s why Blake is in the town and why the story is happening. The magic word there is motive, which all stories must have, the why.

I just couldn’t find a way to link it all together to reveal this external character and break the Darke Crusader’s code and it started to piss me off.

The recycling bin beckoned…

Frustration loomed, and anger, lots of it. This was my second foray into writing an original story from scratch and I’m stuck. After an angry gym session (is that sweat or tears?) I seriously considered putting that many words into the recycling bin but then, inspiration hit me. Like always while in the car on the open road a solution appeared.

Never underestimate a good drive to clear the mind and find thoughts… sorry environment I need to think!

What if this Darke Crusader was actually already an existing character? What if Blake had no recollection of the past because it was removed in some way? Maybe he was already from Darke Heath in some capacity and then sent out by the evil forces to shut down this crusader. The whole plot began to turn back on itself and unfold into the series of twists and revelations that followed. I’ll admit I put Blake Malone through a Shutter Island level of mind melt hell. But it worked; just about… I was already going down the psychological route anyway so it lined up. There is also just a slice of the Shining in there too.

Big reveals turned into twisting revelations as the Darke Crusader’s code had been cracked in front of my own eyes and imagination. The characters figure out themselves as the story unfolds. Placing this character into an already introduced persona made for a justified twist that the vampiric powers were willing to go to in order to find out who this crusader was because after all they had control of Blake. He also found out where he had come from and it was much closer than he thought. Doing this aligned him with the forces to fight back and so the final act emerged out of such struggle.

Keeping it in the Heath…

Deciding to keep the Darke Crusader inside the confines of just the town made for the feeling of no escape. The world was just limited to that town between the trees. There is an alternative ending to ‘Back to the Future’ where instead of harnessing lightning from the clock tower in Hill Valley, they go to a nuclear power plant instead, out of town and away from where the story takes place. Comparing my stuff to that masterpiece is a little indulgent but keeping everything in the Hill Valley/ the Heath rounded the story perfectly.

Back To The Future Review | Movie - Empire

Overcoming it all to tell one heck of a tale…

The struggle I went through in both back pain related and story related issues may have made for the reason why Darke Blood stands out as probably my better books. The whole tying together in the penultimate act either turns people away or grips them more. It’s decisive and carries weight. And this is before the awesome editing and cover art work that tops off the whole deal. It didn’t come easy, and much like those difficult second albums, it felt like an uphill fight to tell a story that I desperately wanted to be different from Open Evening and so it was, but they are connected…

The Open Evening Connection…

Open Evening banner with DB and ch

In order for the past elements in Darke Blood to work (Cait’s story and the main antagonist), it made sense for the creatures seen in Open Evening to exist in the same universe. And so after all of that struggle and part of it was making the whole deal fit, I managed to tie it into a wider universe which is still growing today.

the order symbol (weathered with title)

Final witchy thoughts…

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This deep dive is in fact just more of a shallow swim into the complex but satisfying tale that is Darke Blood: You’ve never known true darkness. There is a whole segment of the book that is probably best described as ‘Light Witchcraft’ which I haven’t really mentioned here but later on becomes ever so important. This is also galvanised by the Sisterhood theme that runs beside the second billed character of Caitlyn Turner who turned out to be way popular than I thought. Her journey continues in the next Darke coming this September.

Looking toward the wider ‘Darke Series’

In what is hopefully going to define my work as an indie author Darke Blood works as a stand alone but can also be delved deeper into a trilogy which will continue this September but the Open Evening side arc is very important to that. They are tied together and will culminate together.

Have you read Darke Blood? Not many have but those who left reviews, thank you. 

Darke Blood banner with OE and ch

Reverting to Zero

Zero sales, Zero engagement the sun goes down alone…

It’s funny that this whole book publishing stuff for me and most of us started at absolute zero and most of the time things just revert back to it.

Thousands of followers dont mean shit if they are all vying for the same thing and I’ll admit I have delved into the emptiness of shameless self promotion every now and then. Just one fucking sale would make my week but right now, invisibility city.

What’s the damn point in spending 7 years getting 500 Facebook likes if not one person even engages in a post?

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This isn’t even an attempt at fishing for anything other than exploration of my own feeling of going down a seemingly pointless road. I know my writing is worth reading. My books are proper books – I’m not just trying to fling one full length story and live just off that, I have 5 books out there, a damned backlist that feels, invisible. It’s hard to swallow because I have something worth giving to the world but it feels like nobody even knows it’s there all of a sudden.

I’m on the cusp of releasing book 4 of a series maybe 13 people have read. That tells you I’m doing this for the writing, myself and for the journey. The weight it has on ones mental health can be heavy at times but is it supposed to that hard to get people to buy and read your stuff?

I guarantee on release 13 people will buy that book and then in two years time I will be forced to set the price to zero in order to gain any type of interest.

Zero – that damned word again…

 

Book Promo Results March 2020

The numbers and results are in! Even though we live in a world that appears to grow rather uncertain by the day, here at the Hall of Information it is business as usual!

Image result for book sales

One of the core values that I pride myself with as an indie author is to help fellow wordsmiths and hopefully guide them to some level of book promotional enlightenment. Let’s face it, every author charges towards their dream starry eyed and is then demoralised by the promotion part – telling people your book exists is the single greatest struggle we have as creators. 

So here are the facts and figures: 

Darke Blood was scheduled to be free to download on both Thursday the 12th and Friday the 13th of March – you can do this is in KDP if you enrol your title in KDP select and clicking on the ‘promote and advertise’ button next to your title on your book shelf (google it if you are unsure)

 Total downloads of that two day run: 

book promo march 20

Total: 

db numbers

We reached countries and territories never reached before like Italy, Spain and even Japan!

But wait there’s more: 

During this run, I also sold copies of my other books Open Evening and Cemetery House at full price and which are in the same ‘Order of the Following’ Series…. This now confirms the readership know that they are set in the same world – a huge challenge I currently face!

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When the promo ended people were still buying Darke Blood at the full price and so here’s a break down of those sales and the for the one’s above..

organic sale

During the free promo Darke Blood went to #1 in all three of it’s charts on Amazon and has got it some much needed visibility.

How did I get these results? 

Book Promo sites:

My philosophy for higher reach is to pay for some of it. There are a great number of book promo sites out there who specialise in reaching readers. Over the years I have compiled a list of those who have worked well and those who haven’t. This time around I only used two major book promo sites and paid a little more than I usually would.

On previous promos I have used many different sites at once for smaller fees, this is known as ‘stacking’ but for this one I used:

Freebooksy ‘Thriller Promotion’ – for the 12th, this cost £72 

E Reader News Today ‘Thriller and Suspense Promo’ – for the 13th, this cost £32

For the money I spent I consider this promo run a success. It’s isn’t a record breaker but it’s enough!

Other factors: 

Recently my Twitter following reaching 3000 – here’s how I did it

My blog following nearing 500 – I put out a post on the day!

Weekdays work well for promos….

People are staying in – for obvious reasons they will want something to read and everyone loves a bargain…

Darke Blood is pretty looking book. Trust me, people do judge them by their covers!

That wraps up another book promo results, have you done any promo work recently? 

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‘Darke Awakening’ the 6th book by Lee Hall; coming this year!

 

Darkness. The blackest of the black. Not being able to see and all that. Yeah some of you have heard that speech before and this isn’t my first venture into the lightless void of the unknown. All of us look into the dark differently but we always see two things. Nothing, and everything. Fear fills the gap between what isn’t there, and what could be. And you’re thinking, how artsy and self-reflective, we all know this story isn’t. Drown someone in shadows and eventually they make their own light to find a way. That’s what I did, Blake Malone, the name I adopted as a reminder of what I have fought for and who I stood alongside. Luckily for you, that fight isn’t over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awesome Indie Book Recommendations

It’s been quite a while since the Hall of Information showcased some awesome indie books. I need views, authors needs sales and you need reads. It’s the triangle of life so here goes…

mindLet’s talk about ‘MIND: Two Short Tales of Horror’ by E.H Night which I found to be a unique and imaginative reading experience. Even with it being a shorter book the descriptive style carried my interest throughout the two tales included.

To quote my review back in December;  ‘it’s almost like these stories simply suggest what is happening and our imagination’s fill in the rest – this is a form of story I hold in the highest regard…’  

This book is a great example of what creative writers can do with a smaller page count – something that authors don’t get enough credit for!

Next up came Indie read number 39 of 2019 which also happened to be an ARC from awesome fantasy author Jimena Novaro who reached out to see if I would be interested in reading her latest release ‘The Relic Spell’. Having read her previous book ‘Blue Rabbit’ I jumped at the opportunity to take on yet another great story.

the relic spell

I found myself immersed in ‘The Relic Spell’ which is a real world fantasy story featuring sorcery and magic while also being full of originality. My lengthy review pays tribute to what is a wonderful addition to the genre and it’s book 1 of a series which I shall be reading more of!

Here’s just a snippet of my review;  It’s very clear to see Jimena Novaro has spent much time writing a story that feels personal and inviting at the same time. The book contains so much for a reader to enjoy, from a wealth of great characters to a story where something is always happening; if there isn’t action, there’s tension, intrigue or mystery…’

I’m pulling a sneaky one on ya for this next book rec but I’m doing it with the best of intentions…

dfw-lh-db-cover-ebook

Those who tune in regularly will know this year I plan on releasing my 6th book which just happens to be the sequel to ‘Darke Blood’ (and the Open Evening books) so I thought maybe I should promote it in some way.

I could just say ‘hey go and read my vampire novel’ but what I will say is this:

Quite recently and for the first time in some years I have been reading Darke Blood and while slightly flinching I am going to admit it may be my best work. Now I’m not particularly entitled to say that but I will. Check it out and if you like the premise I will send you an e-copy…

My next book rec comes in the form of two stories which cap off one hell of an awesome science fiction series. ‘Prodigal Sun’ and ‘High Steaks’  are two reads I enjoyed over the festive season and make up the final books (so far) of the Quantum Series by Christina Engela. This collection I spent last year and the beginning of 2020 delving into. I am going to be brief because I plan on putting out a separate showcase for the series soon but I urge you to check them out!

Next up on my list is a chilling crime thriller called ‘Dead End’ which is the first of a series known as the ‘Clown Conspiracy’ book series by Mallory Kelly. Yet again this is the type of writing that champions shorter reads and for good reason because in the shorter amount of pages you get everything you want as a reader from a great book.

dead end

To quote my recent review;

‘For a book that I read in just under an hour it sure packs one hell of a chilling punch. From the very beginning this story plays with the imagination while also delivering an ever so well written ride that will have readers turning the pages. The use of description by Mallory Kelly is atmospheric and suits the creepiness that comes with the cornerstones of horror to many, clowns and haunted houses…’ 

 

 

And last but certainly not least let me share with you my latest review ‘The Seller of Sins’ by Kristina Gallo which is An engaging immersive tale of relationships and what people will do for love…’

seller of sins

 

There’s a lot happening in this story which is about many different things but mainly relationships. And yet again I have chosen to read a shorter book but it manages to contain a lot of back story and important character detail which carries the premise of a couple who are married but don’t seem to want to be anymore. Their individual paths eventually cross and culminate in a dramatic finish.

 

That wraps up my latest book reviewing endeavours. Do you have a recent book recommendation? 

Thanks for reading and catch you in the next one!

 

 

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!

 

dfw-lh-tgbm-cover-3d

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! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awesome Indie Books I have read this year: PT2

And I am back with more awesome indie book recommendations, fresh of my previous post which was quite well received! So let’s dive into a stack of more awesome indie books I have read this year….

 

 

The ‘Night Audit Series’ by Bruce Knapp is a group of short books that are a fun rollercoaster full of, well everything. The main character ‘Zach’ is someone we can all relate to and part one ‘So it begins’ opens with him having a rather bad day. He eventually moves onto a new job as a night auditor for a hotel and gets up to all sorts. The series covers his time at the hotel while he tries to make his way through life, from a night out partying to weird and even spooky goings on, these stories are fun, imaginative and intriguing.

good audit

This next read grabs the prize for most original premise and concept. You can ‘account’ on me for that but all puns aside The Good Audit by C.P Aiden’ is a fun book about accounting and so much more. Predominantly it’s a comedy and written in a way that is accessible for anyone. It reads like a series of case studies focusing on the lament of accountancy. My review from earlier this year will probably describe it better so let me just rely on ‘control-c’ / ‘control-v’…

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.”

the 4

We’re in more prize territory for this book as it may have been one of my best reads of 2019! The Four Before Me by E. H. Night’   is a gripping and eventually mind blowing story full of epic twists and turns. On the surface it appears to be an 80’s slasher but with so much more sophistication and depth in not only characters but the overall story. This is what I said in my review

With elements of crime, mystery, suspense and even some chilling horror you could compare this book with the early works of Stephen King although the voice in this story is fresh and new..”

goodk

Continuing with the epic theme let me talk about my next read The Good Kill: A Killian Lebon Novel by Kurt Brindley and this one is high end fiction at it’s finest. I took my time with this one as it’s one of those stories you don’t want to finish even though you want to find out what happens! Trust me when I say ‘The Good Kill’ has everything, from a wonderful writing style to characters with depth that compliment a rollercoaster of a story that is sometimes brutal, action packed and even emotional. 

t’s modern Jason Bourne meets Taken but it feels fresher with a grittier story that is brutal, dark and sometimes violent and always entertaining. There’s revenge and redemption as well as a series of revelations that appear in many different pinnacle moments…”

Quantum Series #4 - Loderunner 2019 - front

Loderunner by Christina Engela is the 4th book in the ‘Quantum’ series and this one is a tale of the unexpected. Here at the Hall of Information we like the unexpected, we embraced it for my debut novel but seriously this one is a great read about voyaging through the unknown of space while trying to earn an honest buck. There is also a very important inclusive message (like all of Engela’s works) but this one in particular carries a lot of meaning.

haunted ends

With Halloween approaching I was looking for something of the spooky persuasion and while this book wasn’t frightening (I don’t scare easily anyway, I used to have a boss who would hide behind doors and jump out on me…) this book was certainly of the ghostly persuasion but in a fun and sometimes quirky way. Haunted Ends by Elizabeth Price is a ghost story ‘buddy’ story that is both intriguing and fun.

fated to mee you

I will happily admit that I quite like fairy tales and ‘Fated to Meet You by Despoina Kemeridou’ is just that and quite a bit more. For what appears to be a young adult story to begin with quickly unfolds into a modern fairy tale of castles, Kings and Queens. It’s a sort of rags to riches love story that makes for a great page turner. It’s a shorter read but does enough to tell a story that is a ‘roller coaster of drama, revelations and of course love and friendship.’ 

lost in a quatrian

Let’s talk about poetry, something which I must read more of in the future becauseLost in a Quatrain’: Poetry Anthology by Adiela Akoo hooked me from the very first page. While I was provided with a copy from the author to read and review it I honestly enjoyed this array of words about so many different subjects from “race, culture, political and faith with pretty much everything in between….”

For anyone looking to check out some awesome poetry I would highly reccomend this one!

And so that wraps up part 2. A tip of the cap to all of the awesome indie authors I have mentioned in part 1 and 2. Thanks to everyone who did the retweet/like thing on the tweet machine. I still have 3 more indie books to read and review by the end of the year and hopefully within the next week my 5th book ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ will be hitting the shelves! Expect to see a cover reveal between now and then.

Peace out!

 

Awesome Indie Books I have read this year: PT1

Yes I know this is an end of the year review type post and we are in late November but… I’ve read a stack of awesome books in the past twelve months and by that I am talking from the end of last November all the way up to the end of this November so that’s a year right? Anyway I’ve got a lot to get through because I’ve read a lot of good books and all of them are independently published. This is part 1 of hopefully 2 posts; we’ll see how many I can cram into one entry… so here goes!

 

last driver

On this day exactly a year ago I posted a review of ‘The Last Driver’ – Episode 1 – Old Dogs by Bookshelf Q. Battler a fellow blogger who has put together a story of the future which is realistic in a kind of sinister but fun way… for what is a shorter book it’s an enjoyable story about one man who is looking to relive his glory days of when you could actually drive a car instead of having a computer do it for you. The ending was left open for a potential sequel which I would be interested in reading. 

undertown

For this next book I was taken back in time to the prohibition /crime wave era of Chicago in what is a clever fusing of history and horror/ the paranormal. To quote my review of Undertown: A novella by K.Noel Moore  it’s a ‘perfectly paced, easily readable and well written history novella with just the right amount of chills and atmosphere to make it stand out.’  

sitch

Blood of the Sixth By K. R. Rowe is about a lot of different things. This well structured story is both brutally graphic in some parts while also managing to make the reader genuinely laugh during other portions. It’s an easy to read story which sits within the realms of gritty urban horror, mystery and witchcraft’ that I couldn’t put down in the latter stages!

alien diraries

I thoroughly enjoyed The Alien Diaries by Glenn J. Devlin – a clever and original story with a rather unique premise. The book unfolds with a back and forth style via diary entries from 1700’s which are then complimented by the main narrative which is set in present day. To quote my review it’s a ‘gripping original tale that nods to some important history as well as taking the reader on a journey through time. I even found there to be some great references to writing and reading in general all of which tells me the author has spent a great amount of time and effort constructing a story that everyone will find enjoyable.’

Nocturnal blood

Let’s talk about Nocturnal Blood by Villimey Mist which isn’t just a vampire story, it’s so much more. The main character suffers from anxiety and OCD which is not only brave for the author to include but very important also – issues like this must be talked about more. To quote my review Nocturnal Blood is a ‘highly readable tale of bravery, friendship, character development and vampires; a genre in modern times that doesn’t get nearly enough credit especially when stories like this exist.’  * This is part of a series with part 2 coming soon! 

51

Now if I could choose a genre to call home it would be horror and Building 51 By Jennifer L. Place is right up my alley… so let me tell you why. This book is a cross between urban exploration, tension filled horror and just a dusting of truth because it is set in a real place. Building 51 see’s a group of friends who go to check out an old mostly abandoned hospital and things start to get just a tad harrowing. It’s cinematic and immersive so I recommend it to anyone who likes this sort of story!

blue rabbit

“I’m going to save the world. Who’s with me?” of course I am quoting Blue Rabbit by Jimena Novaro which is the first real fantasy book I have read. With a multitude of great characters this story unique and later on becomes pretty epic. A group of friends have discovered a gateway to another world where someone follows and goes missing. It’s fun, colourful and immersive. After reading it I would happily say that this is my type of fantasy! * This author has a new release coming in December which I am currently reading an advanced copy of, it’s just as enjoyable… 

kali

Daughter of Kali: Awakening by Shiulie Ghosh may appear to be just another fantasy/teen novel but it is so much more! This is a story of warriors, heritage and demons with plenty of action. What starts out as in introduction to just an ordinary world follows into the rabbit hole of magic and mythology which is also cleverly linked to the Hindu faith. *  Part one of a series, having already read part two I shall be looking to read the final part next year! 

Quantum Series #1 - Black Sunrise 2019 - front

Black Sunrise by Christina Engela is not only a fun, quirky and imaginative foray into science fiction, it’s also part 1 of the ‘Quantum’ series which I have delved into over the past 6 or so months – I still have 2 left to read hopefully before the end of this year. All of Christina Engela’s books promote positive and modern messages about being inclusive while also being fun. Black Sunrise is just the beginning of that and if you like sci fi you will love this!

kau d'varza

Keeping with the sci-fi theme this next book I was given an advanced review copy of which certainly didn’t dissapoint. Kau D’varza: A story in the ChaosNova universe by David Noë is high-end space travel sci-fi of the finest persuasion. It’s one of the longer stories I have read this year but don’t let that put you off, longer reads mean more immersion and this one certainly draws you in. The story centres around a space station in the very depths of the stars where something is always happening. There is a multitude of characters, drama and mystery in what is a well thought out story set in a detailed world.

squatter in ldn

Last and by no means least is a book that is probably one of the most unique reads I have ever experienced. I say this because A Squatter in London by Irene Pylypec is an autobiographical diary style account of one young lady’s time spent in London after travelling from Canada during the 1970’s. To quote my review ‘the sights, the sounds, the tastes and the people are captured perfectly in what is a fantastic story of highs and lows for a young person trying to survive and figure out life.’ 

So that wraps up Part 1 of Awesome Indie Books I have read this year. Shout out to the awesome authors of these titles which I recommend highly! If you do buy one, remember to leave a review!

HERE’S PART 2!

 

 

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!