Weekly Ramble #32

As an author do you want to know what’s worse than a one star review?

A one star rating with no review, words, explanation or even evidence said ‘reader’ has taken on your work. Not to mention the mindfu** it will give an author for a long time constituting to the round in circles question; why didn’t they like it?

One of my previous ramble post’s was half rant and half response to a one star review that had an actual explanation which I tried my best to debunk and move on from. This is different and it appears a particular book of mine keeps getting ‘pot shot’ with these random ratings (Open Evening) via Goodreads. In fact you can compare the reviews on Amazon (UK) to Goodreads to see the inconsistencies which just leaves me flapping my arms as to why?

I don’t want it to appear as if it’s getting to me, but it is, because we’re only human right? As authors we live and die by the currency that is reviews and as a reader if there was something I thought deserved a one star review I probably wouldn’t have finished reading it and then would have just moved on (and I have done that very recently). We’re all entitled to an opinion, that’s fine and I am not contesting that, what I am contesting is conduct towards writers. Leaving that one star might turn someone away from the craft forever.

Another huge factor is Open Evening like all my books was funded entirely by me including the sequel and the other book it is linked to Darke Blood; there is plans for further sequels but thoughts of that turn me away from it.

The question that remains in my head; Is Open Evening that bad? Does it justify someone swooping in to leave a one star rating and think nothing of the consequences? Maybe some like minded writer folks should swoop in and help an author in need…

 

 

 

 

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Indie Book Sequels: Are they worth it?

The title of this post presents itself as a question I have tried to find an answer to from experience. There are still many pros and cons to it floating around in my head; so in my divine wisdom I have decided to explore this question via a blog post and because my experience from releasing an indie book sequel wasn’t the best…

Background

When I write a story my mind is forever in expansion mode. I am always looking for an opportunity to tell a back story or plant something for later on; this even goes as far as planting stuff for books later on in a series. This may sound visionary and I suppose it is BUT it’s also a curse because while I’m standing over in book three, people haven’t even picked up book one yet! – that’s not a unique problem in indie publishing, our biggest challenge is product distribution…

I very much enjoy the thinking ‘fourth dimensionally’ writing style in fact there isn’t a better satisfaction in writing than seeing a long term plan pull together and that’s what I like to do. But to evolve or even edit the title of this post let me ask this:

Are indies just better off writing stand alone stories? 

Beginners luck

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I present the question above with an intention to answer it with logic as opposed to experience because if we look at it on simple terms, and this doesn’t just extend to indies but books in general, who is going to buy book 3 of a series if nobody really read or knows about 1 and 2…

My writing faced that answer very early on and in 2016 I was set to release my first book ‘Open Evening’ which is now part of the wider ‘Order of the Following’ series (this is the first time I have named that series publicly, consider it an exclusive, thank me in the comments). Due to my writing style the latter stages of Open Evening was set up and left open (no pun intended) so that a sequel could be explored some time in the near future.

The expectation I had in selling this book wasn’t particularly high but it did relatively well and shifted a bunch of paperbacks, did the rounds on social media and in all left me felling pretty darn good. There wasn’t any profits but I had made my official arrival as an author known.

Move on to the next one

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After finishing a book; the best thing an author can do, if they really are an author is to move on and write something else. Enter my vampire caper ‘Darke Blood’ which before Open Evening found it’s final edit became linked to this book by way of some (clever) back story.

So to put this into context, these books are separate but sit in the same universe; so it’s Iron Man and Captain America. If you read both you will see where they are linked, it’s fairly obvious.

Listen to the heart

Unfortunately this is where my thinking fourth dimensionally curse struck. I really wanted to do an Open Evening sequel, there was more story to tell and explain, there was even opportunity to link back to Darke Blood. So I did it, and ‘Cemetery House’ was born.

I knew from the offset that my readership would in fact be very limited, but I did that thing where the urge to tell a story took over everything else, and now I still don’t regret that decision.

It kicked my ass

By the time I had finally got ‘Cemetery House’ released in late October of last year (2018) I was facing being ‘done’ with writing, possibly forever. It hit me that hard. Not the writing process, not the editing process, or even Amazon being fail because their stupid KDP software didn’t like the format of the book for ages so didn’t accept it. All of it hit me hard, to a point where I pretty much faced a level of depression I have never seen or experienced ever.

This sequel ended up being a bad day that just got worse. And so then came the icing of the three tiered cake of shit; pretty much nobody bought the damn thing…

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Facing reality

There are a huge amount of factors as to why ‘Cemetery House’ went the way it did. Mostly because I put my expectation on a pedestal and didn’t accept reality where Open Evening had only been out 2 years when the sequel arrived. My following was nowhere near the amount I have now. The promotional efforts, well they were okay actually but without the following, well there’s the problem.

It hurt. Big time, and I probably did it to myself more than anything. 2018 was a huge year for me. I released The Teleporter half a year previous to ‘CH’ and only now is it getting any type of traction.

This stuff takes time. It takes thought and above all it takes a suit of armour to protect yourself sometimes from yourself. Most of this stuff is on your head. I have always said as an author success is in the eye of the beholder.

But the beauty of this is simple, I can happily talk about it and accept it for what it is. I have 4 books published. I did that in 2 years. Cemetery House has 0 reviews and not a lot of sales but it stands shoulder to shoulder with 3 other books that make up the 4. And they are mine

The drive home

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There was an album I listened to religiously while creating ‘Cemetery House’. In fact its by one of my favorite bands. For near enough half a year after publication of that book I couldn’t face listening to any of those great songs. That was until last night, when I took in the whole album at level 18 volume.

The conclusion I have is simple. If you have more story to tell and your heart is telling you to write it, then write it. We do this because above all it makes us feel something in this rather cold world. We’ve all had bad reviews and good reviews. Sales and no sales. Just do what you wanna do to feel happy in writing and fu** everything else.

Thanks for reading my story about my stories and a little insight to how I got here. It means a bunch to have your support, have you got any sequel gripes? Let me know in the comments. 

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This blog has been nominated for the Liebster Award!

I can happily announce that this rather small blogging operation has been nominated for an award!

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First and foremost I humbly accept and let me take this opportunity to say thank you to the Thinking Moon Blog for the nomination. This is the first time my writing efforts have ever been recognized in any way, it truly does mean a lot but this award nomination isn’t all about me (begrudgingly moves away from the spotlight…)

As well as being the rules of my nomination (more on that in a bit) it is my duty to say something about the fellow blogger who nominated me. The Thinking Moon Blog  contains a huge and diverse amount of content categories from sustainability articles all the way to Buffy the Vampire Slayer stuff (my favorite category). You can also find more Thinking Moon content via the tweet machine and Instagram. The word on the street is this awesome blogger has got a book in the pipeline! Check out the blog and remember to hit the follow button.

So, what is the Liebster award? 

Well firstly ‘Liebster’ is a German term which means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. The Liebster award is an award that exists on the internet and is given by bloggers for bloggers. The whole deal is for bloggers to spread the word about each other in a rather nice way. This thing grows year by year as blogging communities grow. 

Here are the rules: (control c’d from Thinking Moon… more info via the Liebster site)

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and put a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.
  2. Answer the 5 creative and unique questions given to you.
  3. Write a small post about what motivates you in life (not just in blogging)
  4. Nominate 2 – 6 blogs that you feel would enjoy blogging about this award
  5. Create 5 creative and unique questions for your nominees
  6. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here or simply link to this post.)
  7. Once you have written and published it, you then have to: Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post

Unique questions given to me….

Q1: Who was the last indie author/musician/podcast/lemonade stand you supported and why? If not who do you think you will bring your support to this year?

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The last Indie Author I supported was Susan Mary Malone, her immersive collection of short stories ‘Over the Pass and Other Stories’ made for some wonderful reading and escapism. One of my main goals this year is to support as many indies as I can considering I am one. The best way to show support to any author is to leave a review and interact. 

My reason for supporting this author and many others is the fact they all approached me via the tweet machine late last year. I put up a simple request for some reading suggestions which eventually got over 30,000 impressions, I soon installed twitter back on my phone… 

Q2: I’m obsessed with tattoos and I know not everyone is, but if you were to get one what would it be. Or if you have one already what is it and why?

Tattoos are very popular these days but nothing has ever motivated me to get one. I’ve been told that if you want to get a tattoo you have to be really sure, I can’t even decide what I want for lunch most days.

As a kid I was obsessed with drawing stitches on my hands so perhaps I’ve already got enough ink flowing through me, I did become a writer after all… Thinking about it, if I ever did get a tattoo it would probably be something from my books. ‘Twister’ from Open Evening has a rather distinctive bad ass tattoo on his upper arm. (yes I just plugged my own book…)

Q3: What was your favourite childhood television show?

‘The hardest thing in this world is to live in it…’ 

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Of course I am quoting Buffy the Vampire Slayer and even though I only caught the final two seasons of this show back during it’s original run when I was 12/13 I still count it as childhood. I have since watched the whole deal (several times, normally every few years).

There are so many things I could say about ‘Buffy’ and even ‘Angel’ equally but we’re only at Question 3 so I will just say this. If I never watched this show then I would never have ever been inspired to become a writer. And even before those aspirations came to me, I viewed Buffy Summers as my first ever television hero. The latter episodes see her become a leader and an adult whom I looked up to an incredible amount. And that counts for all of the characters who spoke to me in different ways. The cast really were that group of older kids I looked up to and this show got me through some real tough times.

Q4: What scares you the most, that most people consider to be irrational?

I really don’t enjoy flying. I know that can be quite common and I did manage to get myself through a long haul flight to mexico and back but I still really, really, really don’t like it. The worst part is literally waiting in the departure lounge before. The waiting to go and do something I really don’t want to, I find quite hard. What I don’t like about flying is the sensation and the lack of being in control. Take off is pretty cool though… ‘you cant take the sky from me’… 

Q5: What is your favourite place to bring an out-of-town guest?

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on the pitch….rock and roll man!

There is only one place I would class as my home away from home and that is Loftus Road Stadium; the home of my football team Queens Park Rangers located in Hammersmith West London. Since a very young age my Dad took me with my brother to watch them play in what is quite a small but wonderfully immersive stadium. Wherever you sit you’re normally close to the action and the atmosphere is always electric. I may not seem like the usual football following type, and I’m not really, but QPR are my team and if anyone is looking for an afternoon or evening of football culture and atmosphere, I recommend it!

A little bit of motivation for life…

It would be easy for me to say money motivates me in life but in large sums it motivates pretty much everyone apart from Bill Gates and people who own oil. What motivates me in life is balance, and I’m not trying to be super positive or half glass full here.

I have an awesome job in science and I have a just as great hobby in writing and blogging. In between that I have a significant other and a great bunch of friends. All of this stuff doesn’t function unless they are balanced. Balance in life leads to variety which in turn leads to being happy. A winning lottery ticket wouldn’t go a miss either!

My Nominations and Questions…

The bloggers I would like to acknowledge and nominate are…

Bookshelf Battle –  a fellow indie author and blogger.  I follow Bookshelf Q Battler because of the level of humor and sheer content all of which I find to be very pleasant. I have even read/reviewed the novel written by this awesome blogger called ‘The Last Driver’. Check it out.

Bookworm –  a reading and writing blogger whom I have recently connected with via the tweet machine and is always there to like or retweet my stuff.

This whole deal is optional so don’t feel any pressure to participate and nominating others is entirely optional but just remember no wordsmith is an island, we’re in this together!

Of course there are numerous more supporters out there, all of which I would like to thank for reading and following this blog.

Questions for nominees:

  1.  You’re sitting in a bar at an empty table. There are 4 seats available, living or alive name any 4 people you would invite to join you and why?
  2. Name a film or television show that has shaped or influenced you in some way?
  3. What’s the biggest lesson you have learned in writing or life?
  4. When was the last time you laughed out loud?
  5. You have the opportunity to gain a super power. What is it and why? (invent your own or pick a known one)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indie Book Reviews available here!

As a wordsmith and independently published author I am a supporter of others like me. We are all in this sometimes turbulent but mostly lonely vessel of discovery together. And so I can officially announce that I have began a new venture of indie book reviews…

 

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You can see via the menu a brand new section arrived very recently, and if you are an author in need of a review then of course reach out.

My hope is to first and foremost read more, I’m an author, we only get better by immersing ourselves in the craft of writing and reading. I’ve met and connected with some wonderful story tellers via social networking and plan to meet more who will hopefully whisk me away to the worlds they have created. Reading is something I have found myself doing a lot of recently so why not make it your book I am reading.

Check out the indie book reviews section and submission guidelines for more details.

The Teleporter: World Exclusive Blurb Reveal

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What if there was a power like no other? What if one drunken slouch stumbled where nobody stumbled before and discovered the ability to teleport!

And just when you thought there were enough super hero stories in this world, we made another one…

Kurt Wiseman spends his days underachieving and his nights quenching a thirst for drink. He doesn’t fit the standard bill of someone looking to battle injustice and certainly has no aspiration for abs. That is until destiny calls upon him to face an all too familiar sounding mega-rich powerful businessman who represents everything wrong with society today.

Wiseman accidentally acquires the power to teleport and realizes he must fight a politically loaded story arc as well as enduring a journey of self-reflection by overcoming his greatest weakness, booze. Even if the path is filled with comic book cliché, inappropriate one liners and genre busting fourth wall action. Kurt must earn the trust of his friends and save the day.  

Not all heroes in this world are the same and with great power comes the possibility to go viral! This is a story that will unite humanity.

 Kurt Wiseman is… The Teleporter!

Out now on amazon in paperback and e-book formats! What are you waiting for? Go…click here… 

 

 

 

Author self interview: Lee Hall

Today see’s the beginning of a new series of posts called ‘Ask the author’. I will be interviewing myself about all things books, writing and being an indie author…

 

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Lee Hall 

How long have you been writing for? 

Since around the age of twelve I started putting together stories on an old window’s 98 computer. Seeing as I’m in my mid to late twenties that’s quite a while…

So it sounds like you’ve known for some time this is what you have always wanted to do. How successful have you been as an indie author? 

Well success as an author or success at anything in life is in the eye of the beholder. In terms of statistics I have sold around 100 copies of my books combined. In terms of money, I haven’t made anything near what people perceive. But then again I am not in this for the money. To have a few people take a selfie of my book and leave a few reviews is enough for me to grant a project successful.

What are you in writing for? 

To immerse people into worlds as I have been as a reader. There is no greater theater than the human mind. Books really do rule and they help the human imagination grow.

You currently have two books published, could you describe the both of them in three words? 

Open Evening – Teenage Terror Chase

Darke Blood – Vampires Witches Identity

What are you currently working on? 

I have been drafting two projects so far this year. The first was just a bit of fun and can be best described as a vanity project, whenever I am in between books I delve into it but I’m not telling you what it is just yet.

The second project I am currently drafting is the sequel to Open Evening! I am 80% through draft one of Cemetery House with a view to publish in 2018! For those who follow me via email I will be looking to send out sample stuff to followers!

Both Open Evening and Darke Blood can both be considered as horror or at least thriller in genre. Is there any other genre’s you would consider writing in the future? 

Hell yeah! I am currently putting together initial plans (in my mind) for a comic book style super hero comedy. This would be a novella or at least a shorter novel, so watch this space!

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Darke Blood and Open Evening by Lee Hall 

 

What advice would you give an aspiring author in terms of marketing a book? 

Start talking about your book now! Tweet, Facebook status and blog the hell out of it. Of course don’t shove it down people’s throats, be cool and subtle. The greatest way to sell a book is via networking and word of mouth. Get people talking online and sharing stuff, a good support network of friends will help to kick things off. You can read more on marketing in my resources section here

 

And that’s the first part of my self interview, thank you for reading and of course if you have a burning question get in contact and I will feature it along with an answer next time!  

What’s next for Lee Hall…

I agree the title of this month’s final blog entry is a little self centered but you have to be that in order to write a blog. It’s all about the me apparently and so my second book release has been and gone, sales are still trickling in bringing it to around 20 units sold so far.

My conclusion right now is yes Darke Blood has been a success for an independent author like me but right now I have done all I can to market the book. Much like Open Evening or any book; real success takes investment of time and along the way I have learned a hell of a lot. And now I even have a back catalogue, groovy right?

So what is next for me? Well as an independent author I mostly have control over what I plan to release and what I want to work on next. The turn around time from finishing a draft to publication is around a year or maybe less depending on the quality of the story and availability of editor/publisher/cover artists.

 “Good ol’ ‘CH'”

Yes for those who are aware of the ending of my first book Open Evening (I wont spoil it, that much), it ended with a nod towards where the story was going to go next. The word Cemetery House in all it’s damning glory was mentioned in the final pages and yes that is what I am currently drafting at the moment! I guess that’s an exclusive scoop, of course I will announce that officially when I am ready. But let’s just say I am around 30,000 words in.

Darke Blood 2?

All I can say is read the first one, then we’ll talk about a sequel! Review it and let people know about it. And yes Darke Blood and Open Evening are connected in a way or two.

A super hero comedy book!

Back in 2015 when I decided to drop the series of books about robots in the future I came to a proverbial fork in the road, I was either going to write Open Evening or try having a go at a comic book style hero story. At the time I had more story to go on with Open Evening and so I wrote it, over the last few years I have gathered some ideas of how to make this potential super hero book work, so watch this space.

Acting? No I was just asleep..

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I have been taking a break as of lately in terms of all things stage, and by that I mean all things Iver Heath Drama Club. My efforts were needed towards Darke Blood and IHDC’s current production nodded heavily towards giving their youthful demographic a chance with some big roles for their up and coming show Peter Pan! So naturally I thought it was appropriate to step back for a while and maybe recharge a little.

Right now I have every intention to return to the stage for auditions in the late summer for the next IHDC pantomine show; I hope I still have something relevant to offer in my forever hopefulness of getting a larger role this year, we shall see.

Iver Heath Drama Club presents Peter Pan tickets available now online! Support local live entertainment! 

 

And remember every writer needs reviews for their work, if you have read either of my books, be cool and leave a review!

And here are a few highlights of social media from the week… Click on them and they take you places!

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Publication Day! Darke Blood out now!

The day is finally here! My second book Darke Blood is officially out now! The selfies already started earlier this week after I kicked off proceedings on Instagram where I can happily say we have already broke records with the amount of likes it recieved.

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That many likes for something without a cat, food or cleavage…

And that is all I want out of this book, growth and evolution. A few more sales and few more likes than last time will make me a happy independently published author.   Above all more reviews on Amazon and hopefully Goodreads will grant this project a success, so please if you read my work leave a review!

I must take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support towards Darke Blood, this was indeed the hardest story I have ever struggled to tell and seeing the whole thing come together with your support has been fantastic. Being a two time author makes this all seem like I am more than just a lucky one off guy who published one book, plus it gives readers a back catalogue to delve into if they like my work.

If you like Darke Blood and survive the ride,  the twists and the turns then I guarantee you will be a reader of my stuff for years to come. This one really tests the boundaries for the reader as well as tell an atmospheric psychological story of redemption and identity. And yeah there are vampires, witches and some connections to Open Evening!

This hasn’t been a sole effort and I must thank my editor and publisher Nicky from Satin Publishing for helping me so much develop this story into what was an initial draft all the way to polished published book. Darke Blood went through many minor and major changes throughout the drafting and editing process. My next thank you goes to Design for Writers , they simply gave this book an identity by creating a fantastic looking cover. I was really stumped as to what I wanted this one to look like so Design for Writers saved me in that sense and the outcome is a world class looking cover.

All there is left for to say is thank you everyone, I have achieved my dream once again and now it’s over to you to help me find some success with it. Let’s start a new selfie movement with Darke Blood and remember your shares, likes and comments are what generates buzz about this, and will ultimately decide its success!

Happy publication Day!

And heres the direct link to the book…