Weekly Ramble #132

In 2021 over 20,000 readers visited this blog. A record that stands as the best ever for Lee’s Hall of Information and proof that your words can eventually find an audience no matter how long you have been trying. And to me, trying is all you ever have to do in any vocation to find results.

Good things take time, work and patience and if you are willing to endure the journey of facing zero and the general graft of it all then someday that reward will present itself. That may sound easier said than done, especially now as I sit here with such a great number but those who have been around a while will know this journey has not been easy. From reverting to zero to dealing with the general snooty gatekeepers who I share this literary industry with. I have also found a wonderful and giving audience, you guys, who keep me blogging.

The future of this blog is incredibly bright and after so many years, ups and downs and work, this whole deal is starting to pay off! Thank you for reading and joining me. 2021 is coming to a close but there are just a few more tricks up my sleeve before the sun goes down on it.

Top 5 Guides of 2021

Writing guides that help fellow authors, bloggers and social media-ers has become a vital pillar of my content in recent times. There’s a reason why this here blog is followed by over 900 good souls. Helping others also feels good and then seeing them succeed via some of my advice is even better. This post is dedicated to the top 5 guides I have put together this year, most of which are centered around book promotion, selling and social media.

5. Let’s talk about… why your book isn’t selling…

Viewed an impressive 400+ times this year, this post is dedicated to helping authors find all kinds of ideas to sell their books before and after publication. You can read the whole thing here.

4. How I landed another deal with Bookbub

Those who have been around a while will know that this year a major turning point came for me in the form of a BookBub Featured Deal for my super hero comedy novella ‘The Teleporter’. 10,000+ people downloaded it in a single day. Shortly before the promo run I put together this detailed guide on how I got the featured deal. And for those asking, a BookBub featured deal really is worthwhile.

3. Book Promotion Results: April 2021

April 2021 serves as a record holder for so many things. It was my first $100 royalty month, it was also the month where my highest amount of paid sales happened in a single day. This guide highlights how I did it.

This one always gets a lot of attention and you might have seen me sharing the link for it on Twitter rather ironically. Link dropping is a rather interesting subject on Twitter and this guide shares how to sell books without dropping a link. With a viewership of over 500 its one of my best performing posts of the year and probably will be for some time. You can read it here.

1. A Concise List of Book Promotion Sites

Any my most viewed guide of 2021 is a list that many authors including myself use as reference, hence the fact it will probably be evergreen. I update it regularly too and book promo sites are a wonderful way of advertising your books. Check it out here.

And if you are looking for more guidance on authoring, blogging and social media-ing I have a guide book which is coming to paperback in the next few weeks.You can find more information here.

Thanks for reading and stay safe!

Let’s Talk About… The Free Book Promo

Ah, the freebie, a normally guaranteed way to stir any type of consumer interest or so they say. This post will look in detail at the free e book promotion – something I know a thing or two about because since being published in 2016, I have run the free book promo 14 times… Yikes, that may sound like a big number but spread out over 5 or so years it has served me quite well. Let’s talk about it…

By definition, the free book promotion to me is the concept of setting the price of an e book to zero. This can best be achieved through Amazon KDP and if your digital book is enrolled in KDP select then you are allocated up to 5 optional days every period to list that book for free. I have highlighted the ‘optional’ part because although 5 days seems like a good amount, in my eyes the shorter amount of time a book is free, the better – this taps into the whole impulse purchase and urgency thing which is quite important in selling anything. Creating a sense of impulse and urgency in a free promotion will increase the likelihood somebody will want to download your book.

So, is a free book promotion worthwhile?

There are plenty of authors I know who will never offer their work for free and that’s fine in my eyes. I suppose its a case of weighing up your individual options against the factors for success. For me, I don’t earn a living through the books I have published, in fact I am nowhere near that yet, so making money as a self-published author right now is not on my wish list. But gaining a readership is and if my free promotion is executed effectively then that is exactly what will happen, eventually, in theory, maybe…

This whole thing is subjective, so remember everyone’s situation is different.

I tend to use the word eventually in most of my author situations because this really is a long game and hopefully with my results below you’ll see that. Before we look at the results which have improved over time, there are several factors as to why a free promotion can be a success. Here are the main ones:

Type of Advertising/Budget

Probably above everything else, the who and how much you spend will dictate a lot of a book promo’s success. Higher end book promo advertisers also have higher quality readers who leave reviews like BookBub. Budget will also determine how much reach it will have. In my eyes, for a free promo, I’m going all in so the money I spend will be returned eventually through reviews, readers and even social media follows. You can find some of the book promo advertisers I have used here.

Combinations

The second major factor in all book promotion is combining different methods – what I mean by this is perhaps playing around with the price/advertisers/books available. This is where book promotion runs can be deemed a success or not. In the many times I have run promos I have also reduced the price of other books or even advertised the free book before and after a promo. Just free is great, but other combinations are even better. I nearly always ‘stack’ my promotion too – this means using multiple advertisers over several days.

Social Media Reach/Activity

The higher and more engaged your social media following, the better it should be for any promotional stuff. Me; I’m pretty much addicted to Twitter and my following of nearly 20k does help. At a glance, the more you put into social media over time, the more you get back. If your profile gets bigger, more people are going to be interested in your work. Building trust over time online will create a fanbase eventually. How? Here’s a guide for that.

Genre/Time of Year

A wintery ghost romance probably won’t sell much in the height of summer but it will during the autumn and winter months. Genres and seasons do tend to go hand in hand. From late September all the way to Halloween works really well for horror and thrillers.

Length of Promo

I mentioned above that being enrolled in KDP Select will allow you up to 5 days every enrollment period to use for free promo but the shorter the promo run, the better. Impulse and urgency sell books that are on a price promotion.

Reviews/Ratings

Most of my free promotion runs saw better results after a certain amount of reviews. There is no fixed number but having over 5 will help a little. The more reviews a book has the better in theory. In terms of ratings, anything over 3.5 stars average rating should do quite well also.

Bibliography

My top book promotion advice is to have more books available and the more you have on your shelf the more a potential reader will invest in you. Even if their first read from you is free, if the experience is enjoyable then they may just return as a paying reader next time.

Make it Easy for the Crowd

Have you ever offered a physical book or two for free to your social media audience? From a signed paperback to an advanced e copy? Was the response mostly crickets and you weren’t sure why? There’s something about singling people out and then offering them something because every so often it doesn’t work. People don’t tend to like being singled out and so a free e book promo makes everyone feel part of a crowd with way less reader pressure.

Worked Scenarios

We’ve looked at the factors now let us look at a few real life free book promo examples. When I ran my first free promo back in 2017 it was kind of a stab in the dark. Something I have tried to improve over the years… (the book selling, not actual knife things…).

Scenario 1 (2017)

Book Title: Open Evening + Darke Blood (Both Free)

Amount of Amazon Reviews: 6 (UK only)

Length of Free Promo: 5 Days

Month: September

Books Published: 2

Budget Spent on Advertising: $70

Social Media Following:

Twitter: 2,500

Facebook: 300

Result:

Open Evening Free Downloads: 713

Open Evening Paid Sales After: 12

Darke Blood Free Downloads: 144

Darke Blood Paid Sales After: 29

Conclusion:

A very good first attempt at a free promo. Although pricey, 800+ free downloads and then paid sales after for both books was a win in my eyes. Turning a profit at this stage is difficult and not a priority. This was a good entry level free promo and to me anything over 500 free downloads for a book is good. You can read in a little more detail about this promo here.

Scenario 2 (2019)

Book Title: Darke Blood (with ‘The Teleporter’ free on the final day)

Amount of Amazon Reviews: 10

Length of Free Promo: 3 Days

Month: September

Books Published: 4

Budget Spent on Advertising: $100

Social Media Following:

Twitter: 2,900

Facebook: 400

Result:

Darke Blood Free Downloads: 3,403

Darke Blood Paid Sales After: 2

The Teleporter Free Downloads: 88

Conclusion:

An excellent result. 3000+ downloads for any book in that space of time is huge. Capped off with the last minute free promo of The Teleporter on the final day – this proved my theory of eyes being on any other book you have published during a free promo – remember combinations? That’s a major factor for success which you’ll see in the third and final scenario. You can read my detailed report on this promo here.

Brief Interlude

While the above two scenarios are impressive in terms of numbers, the free promo gets more valuable when you have more books available. By the time of the next scenario (April 2021) I had 6 books available, 4 were part of a series and the free promo and a book series go hand in hand for combination stuff. This next scenario is also after my BookBub Featured Deal which was also a free promo and resulted in 10,000 downloads of The Teleporter in a day. Time is your friend with this stuff and you’ll see how my results shifted below.

Scenario 3 (2021)

Book Title: Open Evening with rest of the series discounted to 99 cents or equivalent

Amount of Amazon Reviews: 27

Length of Free Promo: 1 Day

Month: April

Books Published: 6

Budget Spent on Advertising: $165

Social Media Following:

Twitter: 7,000

Facebook: 500

Result:

Open Evening Free Downloads: 940

Open Evening Paid Sales After: 2

Paid Sales of other books in the Series on that day: 176

Total Paid Sales that month: 230 – A record that still stands today.

Conclusion:

You can see from the results that the free promo kind of takes a different role because the other books in the series all sold from that initial visibility. You can create a series page on Amazon that links all books in that series together – let Amazon do the work with this, they have the infrastructure so take advantage. Paid sales pushed all of my books up the charts and to better visibility and the best thing is this book promo broke even the next month. April 2021 was my first $100 royalty month and then the second was May. You can read about this promotion here.

Page Reads

Often overlooked is the concept of e book page reads with can be tracked via the KDP sales dashboard. As you can see from mine and historically they have spiked and even sustained after every promo run since 2017. With more books and promos this can become quite an opportunity while also tracking results.

Final Conclusion

From the scenarios and factors laid out before, you can make a free promo very worthwhile. Of course there have been plenty of not so great promos but they are all part of the journey. You just need a backlist, a budget and some tactics. So in conclusion and for an effective free promo, these things work well:

Minimum time – 1 or 2 days work fine. Impulse and urgency. Think of it as an occasion;

More books helps sell all involved. Discounted prices if its a series. Combinations;

Paying for advertising – kind of a no brainer, plenty of good book promo sites out there. Stack them over some days;

Social Media Following – helps but not essential;

Reviews – Some reviews help.

There are always a few anomalies and variables for the individual but everything laid out above should help to sell books. I have found running a free promo works best every quarter or so and over time it can help grow a readership. These days my book sales are regular and mostly at full price all because I started with the free promo some years ago and built a foundation from it.

Thank you for reading. What are your experiences with the free promo? Any lessons or thoughts?

If you enjoyed this post I have stack of more promo scenarios in my author/blogger guide book which is available now!

The Impeccable Guide to being an Impeccable Social Media Author

IMPECCABILITY is what you need to become an IMPECCABLE social media author like me and this guide contains everything you need to get there. Let the impeculation flow through you as this guide will avoid the same old repetition you’ve been reading online for years. You won’t find the same old repetition here because that impeculation will help you sell books, get social media fame and overall success on this path. We’re not even sure impeculation is a word but this is a space for creatives, not snarky editors. Let’s rock!

1. Definitions

In order to achieve IMPECCABILITY first you need to know the definitions of what social media is. So take what you think you know and tear it to pieces because social media is only one place, Twitter! Throw away the hundreds of followers you’ve earned elsewhere apart from Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and any blog you might have and focus on the place where the real party is happening.

Followers: Followers are what make up the audience in which you’ve got to throw every ounce of content you have all the time. When it comes to followers, their actual opinion, needs, and tastes don’t really matter but the number does so just focus on collecting more of them. Talk at them and they will listen, in fact keep talking at them until they buy your stuff. If they don’t buy your stuff then don’t waste your time on them. Block Block Block! Make sure you appear as if you are the only person in the world they have to follow. Don’t give them an opportunity to be included, just make them want to be you!

Engagement: This is the stuff you want to avoid on social media because engagement zaps up valuable time when you could be posting links into the void. Top Tip: Stay away from the replies on any platform where someone is engaging in you. Engagement is the enemy.

DM’s: Direct Messages, this is the tool where you can really hone that IMPECCABILITY by directly targeting followers into submission until they buy your crap. More on this below, probably but all good platforms Twitter allows you to directly message anyone. That is if they haven’t got those pesky privacy settings meaning you can only send them a message request. Block them if they have this. Don’t waste that time.

B) Twitter

Now we’ve looked at the definitions lets look at the real definition of social media, and the only place you can really sell books, Twitter!

The true power on Twitter is the personal connections you can make through DM’s. There’s a plethora of spammy unofficial add ons you can install onto your twitter that will do the work for you. And by work I mean bothering new followers into submission with information – this really works to sell things. So I recommend you set up a function that DM’s new followers instantaneously with a message of your choice. This message must be at least 7 paragraphs of your stuff. Links, blurbs, a not so sincere blanket thank you. And remember the more pretentious your message, the bigger you will appear to the lemmings so if you really want to appear big-time make sure you mention that a social media PR firm are handling all your endeavours. This will show you really care about personally connecting with others.

In terms of being a successful social media author you need two things and then you need to do one thing.

  1. Grow a social media following;
  2. Write a book.
  1. Share it to your social media following for instant sales.

That is it. And before you ask, yes it is that simple but the real challenge is conducting yourself to get sales.

iii) Conduct

There are a bunch of things you must do everyday to secure dominance and then IMPECCABILITY by using Twitter.

Tweeting:

Firstly and most importantly when considering tweeting you must include several hashtags and a link – you’ll find specifics below as to what to actually tweet but the basics are having hashtags and links. This way, the algorithms will favor you every time over everyone else. Only losers really attempt anything other than sharing links and using hashtags. Keep away from conversation and focus on flinging links and making tweets more readable by making #at least #every other #word a #hashtag because this doesn’t look desperate for attention, its the tweet conduct of someone who is goal driven!

Got to tag them all:

If there’s one thing that will help you gain traction and visibility it is to tag those with larger followings than you. They have spent many years carving their engagement and following so its time to use that to your advantage plus they are on twitter so they cant be busy. In order to really get someone’s attention, you want to tag these folks at least three times in a day. Maybe more if you’ve never ever interacted with them. Negative attention you ask? There is only such thing as positive attention online. They will love the overabundance of notifications, trust me.

Drop those links:

Just as you’ll be tagging those higher profile accounts it is also important to drop your book links on their tweets. Even if it is entirely unrelated because this is seen as an entrepreneur move. Everyone and their following will notice your sharp marketing skills and instantly buy your stuff. Drop those links everywhere. Twitter will totally not notice and tell you off. There is a rumour that dropping links all the time will bury your visibility, this is pure myth. Drop that link!

Keep it current, Keep it political:

The best way an author can become IMPECCABLE is to comment on current political events that everyone will forget next week but they won’t forget how you reacted. Jump the gun as they say and throw your one sided opinion into the void. Guaranteed followers and good natured engagement, especially if you move into the trending side of twitter. Much like the bone yard seen in the Lion King, you’ll find a Hyena or two willing to listen and engage with you. This will also show your true colours and reactionist mentality that everyone loves these days. Mud will stick here but this is the type of mud you can use as the foundation for that empire you’ll be creating.

Stay Mysterious:

Twitter is a wonderfully designed platform where it is very easy for your cryptical replies to be misunderstood and ill received. This can only be a good thing because people love a puzzle and conundrum – Sudoku is still huge and so consider this your opportunity to be puzzle master. Let your replies come across weird and give them a tone that cannot be gauged, this will guarantee IMPECCABILITY over time.

Enforce the rules:

Let’s face it, most of us have always had a boner for authority so on Twitter where the catchment of rule breakers is wide, it is important to shout from the hills that everyone should follow your story telling rules. It’s okay that you break them, but everyone else must get in line. Be that bullish borderline narcissistic bully and everyone will follow you in fear. Fear is your friend and leads to sales. Project your nonesense onto others until they love you. They really will.

Enable Trolls:

The Writing community has a weird way of attracting trolls. The best thing you can do is block them and move on engage them. Exchange gifs and give these haters a platform. You’ve got time right and remember everything you tweet will be seen by your followers who will love to see you enabling these worthless fucks good people.

Section 4: But What to Tweet about?

The question of all questions and only now am I going to answer it because you need all the information above to have a fighting chance of wading and then floating through the sheer deluge of words scrolling by per minute on Twitter.

These things are great to tweet about:

If you’re a newbie the best thing you can do is say you are new to the writing community and that you are looking to connect with others. These tweets normally blow up so seize the moment and even if you are not new, it’s okay to say you are. Twitter traction is all based on exploitation and small lies non-truths;

Another great way to get everyone’s attention is to say that Twitter is quiet today. This normally brings in the droves right to your profile. Of course Twitter isn’t quiet, you’re just using it wrong because the platform is open all the time;

Not knowing what to Tweet is also a great advantage. If you were to tweet that, again you’ll get some great levels of attention and remember taking attention away from everyone else is the key to success on the platform;

Of course if you’re looking for answers then ask questions. Asking inane questions all day everyday will guarantee to move the needle in your favor and you’ll notice how much your follows and activity rises when you try something other than inane questions. Remember the more obscure the better, like what would the milk taste like if your main character was a dairy farmer. That’s the real nitty gritty right there.

Sub tweeting – now I might have got this completely wrong but sub tweeting is a great way to show that you’re on track in terms of diet. So next time you eat fresh and grab yourself a subway footlong, tweet about it. This post is not affiliated with Subway in anyway.

Running your own writers lifts. For some reason everyone loves these, even years after the fact most have realised they mean nothing and get your nowhere. You can really build up a huge following of thousands and then be left pondering why none of them bought your book.

Conclusion

With the sections above you can tell I pretty much have a Doctorate in Twitter, social media, subway and IMPECCABILITY and now you can too!

I reckon you are set for pure social media IMPECCABILTIY like no other. That competition of yours will be crushed but there is one final part that is imperative to all of this. The general consensus from some truly IMPECCABLE social media authors. I put the subject of this post to the very best and we shall finish with their answers.

Thank you for reading and for the love of god please treat this post as satire, I wrote it for fun and I’ve had a difficult month/year and my go-to coping strategy is comedy/satire, stay IMPECCABLE!

Lee Hall is an indie author and blogger who spends much of his time putting together awesome guides like this. You can read more serious ones via his patreon and if you sign up, you get a free book, exclusive first access to future guides and his general love.

5 Years Published: Some thoughts and lessons…

Time can be a funny thing and it has certainly flown since I first envisioned and then eventually released my first book ‘Open Evening’ back in 2016. We’ve seen pandemics, two different presidents and even hardbacks being introduced to Amazon since this book came out.

For a story based upon a bad dream I had during my teen years it has shaped a huge part of me and my author journey ever since I wrote down the events of that nightmare onto six sides of lined paper. While it sat amongst many of my writings gathering dust for some years after, eventually it would be brought back into the light and served as my great writing reset while also being my debut novel and probably being my most important publishing moment to date. This post is dedicated to some of the vital things I have learned through releasing that book and my wider path as a creative.

Books capture a moment and version of you in time…

I am going to defend it jealously but I am also not afraid to admit that ‘Open Evening’ doesn’t contain my strongest writing – why would it? Because between then and today six other releases have arrived in that time. That’s six opportunities to be better than the previous project. Literally hundreds of hours toiling away figuring out my own style and the English language in general stand between my debut and now.

The story to me is still strong, but the execution, that’s something all writers will always be trying to get better at and so O.E. captures my writing ability at that moment in time. This is a book based in the US but written by a UK based author who has never been across the pond – words and phrases don’t always connect but I’m not going to change them for the world, this book represents so many things I’ve learned in time and those quirks make it all the more meaningful. There’s almost a charm in early works by some creatives and this book perhaps has a little of that.

Every time I have gone back into the manuscript files to change back matter or correct the odd error I find myself unable to change anything more than that. It represents me back then and I’m proud of that version of me in time. This also means that if you do read this book first and move on to later releases, you should hopefully see my writing ability evolve.

Truth in fiction resonates big time…

You’ll find that ‘Open Evening’ contains a huge dose of truth in between the monsters, the running and the terror. My own high school days play out in this book but with the fictional volume turned up. From geographical elements to even characters, much of this story is influenced by real things, people and encounters. For it, you get one hell of a resonating and relatable ride. If you are able to find some element of truth to base your own works on, you’ll probably captivate readers. Combine that with the sometimes outrageous fictional ideas and we’ve got ourselves an immersive tale. That ‘truth’ model is a concept you’ll find in all of my works so this book paved the way.

There are some fictional influences also…

From combining the name of my old high school with the town where slasher film ‘Halloween’ is based all the way to Alien, Buffy and even Blade. Much of my favourite thriller/horrors are also represented in this book and I’ve found that paying homage to them in a story gives readers a weird nostalgic comfort. If you liked Final Destination or any of the stuff below, you’ll probably like ‘Open Evening’.

Social Media Following is everything to me now, but it wasn’t always…

I had a fraction of the following I have now when this book was released and still it sold relatively well at the start.

41 copies – most of which were paperbacks got sold on release. This was a record I have only just broken in terms of release month sales. Back in 2016, Facebook was my main platform along with this blog which also had a fraction of the following I now have.

My advice when it comes to authoring and releasing books: You don’t necessarily need a big following to start off with because as long as that work of yours is findable, readers will eventually gravitate to it over time.

Me: I worked on regularly releasing content before I got anywhere near the social media following I have now. Content will foster new followers.

I got busy writing and spending the time I had to create…

Like I have said before, time is probably the governing factor in all of my content and success. When’ Open Evening’ was ready to be released, my editor wasn’t available and then so I had a year in lieu to use and that’s exactly what I did. Just as O.E. hit its release I was planning my next and already had a draft of ‘Darke Blood’ ready to be edited. 8 months later I had two books out there all because I used the time.

The Free Promo(s) have been worthwhile…

Many authors are strongly against giving their work away for free but I’m not many authors and for the six times ‘Open Evening’ has been priced at zero, thousands of people downloaded it. This has led to me finding an important readership and has even boosted paid sales of other titles over time.

Damn, getting reviews is hard…

I’ve tried near enough every trick out there to try and get more reviews and all of that started with this book. From sending physical copies to bloggers who never even responded, let alone left a review to giving copies to perhaps ‘higher end’ indie authors only to see that same copy on ebay some time later. Reviews are so hard to get and this book confirmed that for me. Since publication ‘Open Evening’ has managed 30+ reviews in that time. A small figure to some, but to me and considering I had very little following back at release, a good number.

It is never too late…

You’ll see me preaching this on Twitter every now and then but the release of a book is only the beginning and from that moment after, the opportunity for a book to find sales, reviews, audiences and a following is always there. It is never too late.

Edit: The official release was the 29th but it was uploaded to KDP early

Only you can write your book…

Writing tips and advice take many forms these days, from the awesome gems of guide books out there to social media, but only you the author can find what it takes within to write that book. It started for me with this fast paced high school creature feature horror but I have dabbled in many different genres while only really listening to myself and figuring out this wonderful craft.

Friends and Family were there for me…

As much as I am thankful for the support this book got at the very start, I will stress the word ‘were’ because after the release most of my family and friends disappeared. While back then it was kind of crushing I now understand that most of these people were supporting me and perhaps not the book which forced me over many years to go out and find my own supporters who backed both books and me. This became a blessing in disguise and I know some authors will never even get the acknowledgement from anyone they know for the work they have done so I am ever thankful for that initial support.

That initial support is how I promote myself today…

While most of my family and friends grabbed a copy of this book on release, they did so to support me personally and today that’s how I promote myself – as a person first and then my books second. Most of you reading this would have probably come from social media and might not have even read my works but you know who I am for that effort.

International pricing matters…

This is more of a practical lesson but for a while, my books never sold anywhere outside of the UK and this was mainly due to me not being fully in the detail about pricing in other countries. Be sure to do a little research just to see what is a fair price someone would pay in other places around the world.

Seek Professional Help…

My budget for most releases includes cover artists and editing – both of which to me are essential building blocks that make up the basic anatomy of a book. From word choices, structure and overall guidance; a good editor will help shape that work of yours. A good cover artist will also guide you – ‘Open Evening’ looks the way it does because of the professional help I got. The original cover I envisioned was way more elaborate but I know that those scratches embody everything I wanted to covey for a potential reader.

Keep Creating, Keep Learning…

The journey never ends and books once they are released will outlive us eventually. Books are a life investment and it’s important to learn what you can from releasing one into the wide world where anyone and anything can be said about it.

‘Open Evening’ represents the start of my publishing journey and for all it’s ‘charm’ this book is something I am immensely proud of giving to the world. There is something truly genuine about fostering a story from scratch and writing it with your heart and then offering it to the world; perhaps that’s the most genuine thing a human can do. To me, its certainly up there, so no matter what happens, embrace your art, learn from it, keep creating it and in this case embrace the unexpected.

Free and Discounted Books – Today Only!

For the first time ever all 7 of my books are being price promoted simultaneously to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Open Evening being published.

Without my debut novel nothing else would have followed and seeing as I have a plethora of books, they are all discounted except for Open Evening which is FREE to download today only!

Some thoughts, details and links are below. As always thank you for the continued support of your local neighbourhood indie author!

It’s kind of scary how time flies when your busy and trying to get the world to read your words and somehow it has been 5 years since my publishing journey began. Those who have been around a while will know in 2015 I basically started again with a project based partly on a bad dream and mostly on my own high school days of struggle. Add a little creature feature horror, scratch that, a lot of creature feature horror and somehow Open Evening was born. Originally taken from six sides of lined paper full of scratchy writing after my fourteen year old self tried to recollect the events of that bad dream, I somehow fashioned it years later, into a fully fledged book that probably means the most in all of my works.

Before Open Evening released in 2016. I kind of got caught up in the whole querying thing with sub-par science fiction that wasn’t ready and in truth I wasn’t ready so starting again paved the way to where I am now. Someday you might see that science fiction which has grown with me and I have a huge amount of books to offer the world but until then enjoy the ones I have available.

Some of the books on my shelf may be different in comparison but for today they are all the same price.

The Ghost Beside Me is a paranormal romance about an introvert who struggles with loneliness until something not of this mortal world tries to reach out. Based partly on my own paranormal experiences and a ghost story my late Grandfather told me its a short but powerful read. Perfect for the coming spooky season of Halloween and beyond.

The Teleporter, many of you will already know and this book has become my most successful title this year. With over 160 Amazon ratings in six months I think I can class it as a hit. Kurt Wiseman is a mid-twenties slouch who is suddenly thrown into his own super hero tale and has to make a choice in order to save the day. Full of comedic wit and fourth wall breaking fun, it is bound to make you laugh at some point.

Consistent Creative Content is basically the culmination of my journey as an author, blogger and social media personality. Part-memoir part-guide, this book is designed to show you what I’ve done to find success that I am happy with and how you can do that too. Follow my words.

Of course Open Evening is just the start of a wider series known as the Order of the Following. Every other book in that series is discounted for today!

Click on the banners for the links!

‘Last Outlaw’ a Sci-Fi Western by Lee Hall – Coming Soon

The year is 1902 and aging gunslinger John Arthur is doing his best to survive times becoming more civilised by the day. That is whilst trying to guide his adoptive daughter Bethany ‘The Blade’ Mason to adulthood. After a troubling vision; Arthur must put it to the back of his mind as an opportunity appears in the form of three stagecoaches worth of gold. This life-changing haul just happens to be sitting in the bank of the small strange town known as Haddington but something monstrous lurks beneath the surface. Heist soon turns to horror forcing outlaw and law to align in order to survive the unexpected.

Last Outlaw: The ‘Haddington Haul’ will premiere on Tuesday the 17th of August via Patreon.

Part One will be FREE to read.

You can read more about Lee Hall’s Patreon here

7 Years of Blogging: Here’s what I’ve Learned

Writing books and blogging go hand in hand to me. They have done for seven years now and just last month I was notified by WordPress for reaching that milestone. Time flies I guess… This Hall of Information blog is the central pillar to all of my content and this post is dedicated to everything I have learned in that time. Before I dive in, let me just thank all of you, for joining me here in this space on the internet I call home. You support is very much appreciated!

Last year I put out a similar type of post which then inspired me to write a little self-help book called Consistent Creative Content. Here’s what I’ve learned in seven years of blogging.

Time

The major factor in all of this is time. If I could have incorporated that word into the title of ‘CCC’ I would have.

Blogging takes time, good results take time, finding content takes time… you probably get the picture. If you dedicate time to blogging it will eventually get better.

For those not sure where to start with blogging my basic tip would be to consider your blog as your own personal space to talk uninterrupted about any subject you wish. This brings me to…

Diverse Content – to a certain degree…

Many blogs including mine will stick to a certain theme when it comes to content. You probably won’t see a book blog talking heavy politics often and sometimes it’s good to branch out a little but my advice is to stay in the same content neighbourhood. While my Hall of Information blog started as a journey towards publishing that was fairly limited in what I could blog about. Since then my content has diversified within the realms of publishing. From indie book reviews to interviewing authors on occasion all the way to book promotion results and even just ramble posts that capture what I’m currently feeling. They are all in the same neighbourhood as my original vision but stretch a little wider in appeal. So perhaps trying new things is a good thing but…

New Ventures can take time…

Blogging for me turned a huge corner when I decided to take the plunge into offering Indie Book Reviews back in 2018. What happened the moment I launched that service? Nothing because it takes time to get the word out and build up a trusted reputation. Eventually indie book reviews became what I was known for but it started slowly.

This year I started another new blogging venture of offering space on my blog for guest posts and articles. Again hardly anyone applied but last month 8 posts were from guest authors who shared excerpts, their stories and even the story behind their story. Some of this stuff makes for great reading.

New ventures in blogging can take time but they’ll work eventually. In these two cases both offered an incentive. Incentives are the key to selling and now this month I have started a Patreon. As of right now the amount of Patrons I have is zero, but with a little more work I imagine some supporters will eventually arrive. There will be some more content soon, even some fictional stuff.

Leverage your social media following

Those who know me over on the Tweet machine will know my following has pretty much doubled in the space of a year. If you have a loyal engaged following on a platform you can turn their attention to your blog and drive them to it – this is part of the reason why my blog gets so many views these days. But how, well, this leads to…

Know your audience and write for them…

In July of 2020 this blog had 63 click through’s from Twitter, this year it has 394 and counting. This is because now I write partly for that Twitter audience of writers and bloggers who appreciate my guides and reviews. This already galvanised my existing blog audience which was bookish to begin with. For those with a small audience or none at all this is a fantastic opportunity to write about whatever you feel, if it captures your personality, eventually it will resonate with someone.

Blogging Tip: If you blog with WordPress the social element of connecting with others is already there as everyone with an account has access to a feed that shows you suggested blogs to follow – this is a great way to branch out at the start.

Guest content still takes work…

After nearly a year of pushing a lot of my own content out onto my blog I kind of hit a creative wall. While I still have hundreds of guides to come from my many experiences, I took the plunge in offering space for guest posts on my blog which has over 850 followers. Plenty of authors have since provided me with guest excerpts, stories and reviews but even that takes work. While I might have outsourced the creative element in guest posts, they still take time to check, put together and schedule. There is also a fine art to spacing out guest posts so my audience is not too overexposed to the same thing…

All content all the time may not necessarily work…

Simply, if you want to grow and grow quickly in blogging then produce more content but too much content might have an adverse effect as readers read in their own time so if you are posting daily they might not be able to keep up. Last year and even recently I would post up to 6 times a week which is great for views but the content ranged from reviews to rambles. If you do suddenly ramp up content, be aware of how your audience respond and they will…

Listen to your audience…

I don’t get a lot of comments on my blogs but most of them come from loyal long term followers. They are my bricks and mortar and I do my best to listen to their feedback and engage with them. In blogging most followers don’t unfollow so a follower earned is a follower for life most of the time.

Blogging is a craft to me…

Like writing I can show you to the door and even set you up afterwards for marketing but I cannot physically teach you to blog. That is something you have to find within and working hard to get better will pay off eventually. Your audience may start small but they followed you for a reason, give them something to come back to every week or day. Its going to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing for some time but give it time and good things will happen.

My favourite saying in all of this is simple; If I can do this, then you certainly can. Here’s to many more years of blogging and thank you all for being here day in day out to support my efforts. It really does mean a lot. I have some more quick fire tips for blogging over on my Patreon which is FREE to read at the moment and can be found here.

Peace out, rock and roll and to many more years of blogging!

Joining Patreon

As mentioned recently I have taken the rather uncertain step towards authoring and blogging being a potential career by joining Patreon. Yesterday my first guide post launched rather softly and that is going to be my approach to begin with. Gradual has always been my key to success in any new venture and social media is a tough arena to launch new ventures in.

My ultimate goal is to help others in the world of authoring, blogging and creating because helping others is fulfilling and being known for that has presented me with an opportunity. Over the past year I have experienced enough growth to justify my work to have a certain value and so Patreon feels like the best choice to showcase future guides, book promotion results, writing tips, social media tutorials and even my fictional works. Most of this stuff is what my readers and followers want and I have a plethora of work planned for this venture. I hope it is received well while some of you on here consider joining me over there.

This blog will still operate at normal capacity. Lee’s Hall of Information will continue to provide readers with book reviews, weekly rambles, guest posts and all the usual content you can expect as a follower for free.

While some might think joining Patreon is just a cash grab, and there has already been some frosty-ness shall we say towards the idea of my blogging work being monetised but those who do choose to join my Patreon will be rewarded. The incentives range from a basic shout out on social media all the way to a free digital copy of my book ‘Consistent Creative Content’ and the higher tier will also include exclusive one on one Q&A’s. For now all of my future guides will be available first on my Patreon first and then eventually they will make their way to here, my base of operations. You can find all of the relevant information here.

The first month of content which includes a few guides and some exclusive fictional work will be FREE to read. I would have never got to this moment if it wasn’t for the loyal support you guys have shown for this blog. Whether you are a blogger, writer, creative or just a reader, I hope you’ll join me in this new venture that dreams are made of. Rock and roll man!

Weekly Ramble #118

I’m warming to the idea of starting a Patreon for my writing and self help social media guides. My overall ambition is to make writing my primary occupation and this year has proven that I can take strides from this being a hobby to something much more serious. From having 10,000 people download one of my books in a single day to exceeding that same number in follows over on Twitter, maybe it is time to monetise my content.

Of course the concept of monetising isn’t just about me. I intend to very much make it worthwhile for my patrons by rewarding them not just with content but hopefully other stuff like social media shout-outs, guidance, and even author spotlight stuff on here – a place where I know book folks and good readers are. And this won’t be monetising all content all the time – there is value in our words and with the right following it can be perceived that way.

Something seems to have aligned quite well with the content I create and the readers who appreciate it. You can see for yourself the plethora of social media, blogging and author guides I’ve put together over on the resources page to back that up. Not only do I have content, but a following who appreciates it and this is only ever going to be a career option if I take strides towards setting it up for that. By no means is this a cash grab because as I said there will be incentives for supporters that I will work for so to me, this is merely an opportunity for my words to support themselves and seeing that I have the infrastructure, perhaps Patreon is the way forward.

Already I have a content plan – much of the stuff you have become used to seeing on here will remain on here but will most probably premiere on my Patreon first. I’m committed to creating content that helps others and so the idea would be to make my Patreon an intimate way of passing on knowledge not just through posts but with perhaps one on one coaching – this will all depend on the level of membership available. I am also envisioning to release exclusive fiction stuff to patrons as a further reward for their support. Watch this space.