Guest Post: ‘A Teen Assassin with a Heart of Gold’ by Dan McKeon

Introducing author Dan McKeon who shares the story behind his writing journey and book ‘Wonder Rush’

“I think we figure out who we are based on our life experiences and the different people that impact us. People who come in and out of our lives shape who we are, even if we don’t realize it.”

This quote from my debut novel, Wonder Rush, sums up Wendy Lockheart’s struggle. She is a seventeen-year-old girl fighting to discover who she truly is and the adult she desires to become. Wonder Rush is a coming-of-age tale under the most extreme circumstances. A story about a girl with no identity of her own. A girl fighting for not only a stable home, but for survival.

Abducted at birth, Wendy was raised by an agency of assassins. She was never given a name of her own, but was bounced around from one foster family to the next, assuming a new identity each time. She was brainwashed, tortured, psychologically manipulated, all to carry out the will of “the agency”—a group of assassins that communicates with its teen operatives using randomly flavored, encoded sticks of Wonder Rush Happy Funtime Bubblegum.
After carrying out a hit on an alleged drunk driver, Wendy suspects corruption within the agency. Her ultimate betrayal makes her the agency’s next mark. As Wendy uncovers the agency’s twisted intentions, she realizes she must destroy the organization that shaped her in order to discover the person she truly wants to be—that is, if they don’t kill her first.
I began writing Wonder Rush with a seed of an idea—what if the unassuming new girl in school was secretly an assassin? What a perfect cover. Who would ever suspect a sweet, innocent girl? As the concept took shape, I was inspired by my own teenage sons and their individual journeys into adulthood. I recalled the struggle of personal growth I experienced at that age, and I wondered how much different that road to self-discovery would look if a person never had an identity of her own to begin with. It was that underlying universal theme of identity that got me excited about this story. It is what elevates it from a high-octane thriller to something deeper and more meaningful.
I did not write Wonder Rush with a target age group in mind, and I think some of the best stories transcend age. Upon completion of the novel, I understood it fit best under the young adult category, given the age of my main character and the coming-of-age theme. However, what has made me happiest about the release of this book is the overwhelming connection it has made with teenagers, young adults, and mature adults alike. I think we all remember that internal conflict we felt when we balanced the thin line between childhood and adulthood. We may not relate to a teenage girl killing people in various and sometimes gruesome ways, but we can all relate to that child fighting to do better, to be better, and to grow into an adult that she can take pride in.
My initial spark of interest in creative writing came during a film analysis class I took while I was an undergraduate at Villanova University. It was the first time I realized that film was more than just entertainment. It was a literary and visual art. I learned all I could about screenwriting. I read books, attended seminars and workshops. I ultimately enrolled in a Professional Screenwriting course at UCLA. I complete four screenplays over the years, but I always wanted to write a novel.
I found the rigid structure of screenwriting to be beneficial in novel writing. Additionally, the visual storytelling nature of writing for the screen was beneficial when painting mental images and developing characters in Wonder Rush. I enjoy the more flexible nature of novel writing, but I will always appreciate my screenwriting roots.
Through my journey to publish Wonder Rush, I discovered the great difficulty in getting books into the hands of readers. There are literally millions of books published each year worldwide. Even though the reaction to Wonder Rush has been overwhelmingly positive, it is still a herculean task to deliver it to a wide audience. I am so grateful for bloggers and indie author advocates like Lee Hall for giving new writers an avenue to reach the readers these books deserve. There are some amazing stories out there, we just need to find them. I hope you all find Wonder Rush, and I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it.

You can read more about ‘Wonder Rush’ here and Dan McKeon can be found over on Twitter

Link Sharing on Twitter – My Verdict/Results

This post is based upon my own experience and circumstances on Twitter. Everyone’s experience and circumstances are different when it comes to twitter so this post is designed to help anyone who uses it for the sake of marketing. As an author myself, I very much appreciate the struggle of social media as a marketing tool and to sell books regularly takes a lot of presence and work.

While increasing my presence on Twitter over the past year or so I have began to form a conclusion in my own mind that the platform has a complex underbelly that favours those who use it more often, those who post often and of course those who use it for conversation. Twitter wants you to stay on Twitter and so when you try to divert others away from it through links, that complex underbelly kicks in – the word algorithm get’s used often when it comes to Twitter and now I firmly believe that under the right circumstances, if you share an external link on twitter and specifically via one of your own tweets, it will get less visibility – sometimes dramatically less visibility.

This post will do two things:

1. Lay out my own Twitter circumstances (my following count /tweets per day, etc).

2. Show you what I did to prove that Twitter reduces visibility on Tweets that share links and how to get around this in 2021 – no doubt this post will become outdated but you can still share links on Twitter and get good results. Everything is variable and subjective and this is just my experience.

So who am I when it comes to Twitter?

My Circumstances

My circumstances are important to lay out because it will give you an indication of my engagement and activity on Twitter.

Top Tip: The more time you spend on Twitter, the more it will reward you eventually and this goes for tweeting more, commenting more and just being on there more. What to tweet about you ask? Anything…

My name is Lee Hall and I am an independently published author who probably spends way too much time on Twitter. Although I will say I enjoy being on Twitter and eventually I must have started doing something right because back in December 2020 I had Five Thousand Followers and now I have Twelve Thousand. My Tweets regularly get 20 to 40 likes or even more and normally a few comments – this depends on what I Tweet about and the time of day but generally I have quite a decent engaged following. Here are the numbers in clearer format:

Followers (July 2021): 12k – Mainly UK/US/Canada Time zones

Tweets Per Day on Average: 7 to 10

Hours Spent Per Day: I’d rather not say… but it’s a lot.

These three factors are important to note because firstly my following is a mix of time zones which means when I wake up only UK followers are around mainly so later in my day tends to bring better engagement levels as the US and Canada see sunrise.

Tweets per day is another big factor because the more you tweet, the more your profile will be pushed to followers. And well, hours spent, if you’ve got the time then do it…

Because I have spent so much time on Twitter over the last year I have started to realise that sharing links doesn’t always work out well and so I decided to run a test for a few months to see if this was the case.

The Test

‘Write a book and then share it with your social media following. Instant sales and success’

‘Marketing Expert

While the quote above might have been the case once, right now in 2021 it is so far from the truth and kind of makes me mad that there are people out there sharing this kind of ‘expertise’. Being a social media author who started at zero takes a lot of work, time, patience, effort and drive to reach any level of happiness with your results. The mountain is so high sometimes and the inner workings of social media are designed not to help you.

There are so many authors who will tweet daily about feeling invisible only for me to check out their feed and see it is full of links or they just sporadically tweet every other day. In this day and age that’s the equivalent of standing up in parliament and then taping your mouth shut before trying to give a speech. If there is just one thing I want you to take away from this post it is this:

Talk first, share links later.

And that is what my test is based upon.

The Actual Test

What have I been doing to avoid my links being silenced by the ‘algorithms’? Quite simply I’ve been following a two step approach.

1. Tweet something enticing about a link.

2. Put the link in a reply below that tweet.

Now I am going to prove to you that this approach works.

On July the 9th I set out to share a link in two different ways and at two different times of the day. The link I shared was for my ever popular blog post ’10 Ways to Sell a Book Without Dropping The Link on Social Media’. Yes I am aware of the sarcastic irony which I have a PHD in. Also to make this test fair, I used the same link, hashtag and set specific timings to simply prove how effective this two step approach is.

Tweet 1

At 10:09AM UK time I put out this tweet with the link in the reply. Now my only major audience online at this time is the UK so there is generally less people around to see this tweet. I did this deliberately – you’ll understand why below.

The Reply

Tweet 2

At 07:00PM UK time I put out Tweet 2 with just the link – by this time the majority of UK, US and Canada Time zones were in daytime hours. So you’d think this tweet would get way more attention and this is after several tweets went out during the day.

The Results

I deliberately gave Tweet 2 the advantage of a much bigger audience being online and so you’d think this would work in favour of that tweet. Now I left both of these tweets until today (13th July) to harvest the statistics and so here they are.

Tweet 1

As you can see this time with the numbers its looking quite good. And now with the statistics of this tweet….

The ‘Detail Expands’ tells me followers were enticed by this tweet and moved on to the reply where the link was contained….

The ‘Link Clicks’ is the important number there which is also quite high for me. Now let’s take a look at Tweet 2

Tweet 2

As you can see, very little activity for a Tweet that I put out during ‘prime time’. And so here are the stats…

And the numbers are dramatically less than Tweet 1. These numbers were taken on the day this post was published.

The Supplementary Test

Okay, so I have tried my best to do my own ‘fair’ or at least decent enough test but here’s some a supplementary extra. because there will always be someone trying to refute me it seems.

Yes this is Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and yes he put the link in the comments below the status. Now I know this is taken from Facebook but if the man who basically founded social media in part is doing this, well it says it all really…

The Conclusion

I’ve had my eyes set on putting a blog post like this together for a while and from the numbers shared above I can pretty much confirm that link dropping on Twitter most of the time will have an adverse effect on a users numbers. Let me stress that this is entirely dependent on your circumstances which I cannot speak for. Most of my guides are based upon what I have done and learned.

There is hope when it comes to link sharing because right now there is a simple way around it. Tweet 1’s two step method of an enticing tweet followed by a call to action and then sharing the link in the reply is an effective way to get traffic clicking on that link. There are also a plethora of methods to sell something without sharing a link all the time. Hopefully this post has at least stirred some thoughts about how to better get something from social media when it comes to link sharing.

Thanks for reading and you’ll find some further reading below.

Further Reading (Because I kind of have a family to feed…)

If you enjoyed this post then you’ll probably enjoy and get something out of my self help guide book for authors and bloggers. Consistent Creative Content is written with you in mind and will hopefully guide you to results that you are happy with. Here are some recent reviews and click on the billboard for the US link. Everyone else, just search Consistent Creative Content Lee Hall on Amazon – this will boost my key word relevancy

Of course the link mentioned in this post is also a guide and so here is ‘10 Ways to Sell a Book Without Dropping The Link on Social Media’ .

And those looking for better results on Twitter here is another detailed guide.

Book Promotion Results: June 2021

While the majority of things in writing can be subjective, most authors will know the struggle of trying to market and sell their work. The sheer variety of ways to try and market books these days can be quite daunting but I reckon I’ve got a decent grip on it. Follow me as I lay out my latest book promotion efforts with a hope it helps another wordsmith…

Aim/Background Info

What is book promotion some of you ask? Well for the beginner and to me book promotion is any method that is used to sell books. This can be through a price reduction, paid advertising, free advertising and even less direct advertising like a social media presence. There are so many ways to promote a book and most of time I tend to combine these methods.

Firstly and quite importantly when it comes to promoting a book its good to have something to aim for or at least a reason why you are promoting a book. While sales is normally the main priority, this time I had another aim alongside that – more on that in a moment.

The book I would be promoting this time around was my very recently released self-help authoring and blogging guide book ‘Consistent Creative Content’ and on June the 26th it would be discounted to 99 cents (regular price $3.99) for that day only. My methods of advertising would be a paid promotion via book promo site Robin Reads and I would also be leveraging my social media following across a few different platforms. After the book’s initial release the sales have began to drop off to almost zero so a little advertising will hopefully jump start things.

Let’s break that down into three factors.

Time an important factor when it comes to promotion. One day only for this promo adds urgency for potential readers to buy a book on the day.

Price From $3.99 to $0.99 is quite a jump and adds a level of extra persuasion for potential readers.

Reach – Using a paid advertising package via a book promo site and my own social media following meant that I could reach more potential readers on the day.

Combining these three factors should result in a positive outcome for any book being promoted although different books have different circumstances to face such as rating and genre. You’ll also notice the book cover for ‘CCC’ is professionally designed and a beginners tip: potential readers do judge books by a cover so invest in a professional to give a book the best chance of selling.

Second Aim

For this promotional run I had another aim and that was to push ‘CCC’ up the Amazon charts so it could get a little more visibility and hopefully a few more ratings because my intention longer term is try and secure a BookBub Featured Deal. A few more ratings would increase the chances BookBub would say yes and their Featured Deal Advertising package is basically the holy grail of advertising. For me to get this book featured by them would be the dream as it would reach so many more readers. I consider this promo run a partial stepping stone towards a bigger picture.

You can read more about a BookBub Featured Deal here.

Background Statistics

As you can see the blue bar represents the launch of ‘CCC’ which gradually tailed off into June.

And then June had a few sales but then things became pretty sparse so it was time for some promotion!

The Results

On June the 26th and for one day only Consistent Creative Content was discounted to 99 cents from the original price of $3.99. Here are the results:

Sales in 5 territories and even some further sales all the way into July. A good promotion will keep a book visible and selling for some time after. A great book promotion will pay dividends even months later.

Chart Movement

The best chart movement came from the US and these numbers were in the high thousands at the start of the day. They are super competitive charts so to see these numbers improve was awesome.

It wasn’t until the next morning that I checked Amazon to see ‘CCC’ in the top 4. Fantastic!

It would have only taken a few more sales to hit best seller but that’s for another day perhaps.

Factors for Success

I’ve shared my aims and the basic details of the promo but what are the finer details? Here’s what I did/what happened during the promo.

Social Media and Visuals

Using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and this blog I spread my social media coverage wide and shared this book banner. Book banners make for a nice additional visual that should hopefully enhance the cover of a book.

I also shared a visual representation of some recent reviews and spread that around the platforms.

Specifically on Twitter I took advantage of the #shamelesselfpromosaturday hashtag and combined with 11k followers that helped spread the word significantly.

In general, social media is a hard arena to sell books in, especially as the platforms tend to notice you sharing links and things. This always makes for a challenge. You can read more about getting better results at Twitter here and you can read more about selling books without dropping the link here.

Reviews/Ratings

‘CCC’ already had some reviews and ratings but it really needed a few more, especially if I want a BookBub featured deal, they need to see recent review progress. Reviews serve a book for the purpose of promotion more than anything and some very needed reviews arrived right on time…

And on the day fellow author Ellen Khodakivska released this awesome review!

Reviews also started appearing over on BookBub which is vital for the long term and very much appreciated.

Concluding Thoughts

This ‘stepping stone’ promotional run succeeded in helping ‘CCC’ climb the charts and get some much needed visibility. Having paid $60 for the promo via Robin Reads the royalties are at a loss currently but I paid for this promo using the previous months royalties so I’m taking it as a win. To be able to put money back into to promotion after making it from a book is the stuff of dreams.

Remember its all about Time Price and Reach. If you can get those factors right then hopefully sales will come in. This time around I didn’t break any records but I jumpstarted my sales slump and positioned myself for a better chance to convince BookBub to say yes.

I’m not particularly interested in making a huge amount of money in authoring and this book I have written is to help others more importantly. Hopefully this post helped a fellow wordsmith and you can read so much more about book promotion via the resources section or alternatively you could buy Consistent Creative Content which is currently $2.99 or less in some places and is full of guides like this one.

Thanks for reading and next stop BookBub…. or I will at least apply for their featured deal….

Super Fun Happy Book Discount – Today Only

Yes kind reader you read that title right because today and today only you can grab my recently released self-help authoring and blogging guide book for just 99 cents (or equivalent)!

This is a one-time super fun happy book discount* and it is unlikely we’ll ever see a discount like it again. The usual price was $/£3.99 and today you can download the book for a fraction of said price. Click on the banner below for the Amazon product page and if you need a little more persuasion there are few things below which might be of interest!

* Super fun happy not included…

A few things that might be of interest…

You might be thinking yes that’s an awesome discount but where’s the real sales pitch other than a discounted price and I’m with ya so here’s not one but two exclusive excerpts of Consistent Creative Content…

Exclusive Excerpt One – the introduction which sets the pace…

Exclusive Excerpt Two – A basic guide to Twitter which is just a taster of the other social media guides within…

Still not convinced?

Well other than telling you that this book is basically a series of things I’ve learned over the years to find success I am happy with, I can only really share recent reviews, so here they are…

The Tweet Machine Basics for Authors and Bloggers

The world of social media is the glue that holds all of my authoring and blogging efforts together. In particular, Twitter is a weird and wonderful vessel that sails the seas of social media and can be used as a valuable tool in both marketing and finding your own crowd. Everything I’ve learned from the Tweet machine can both be applied to all writers and bloggers who make up the wider writing community.

To begin with, my advice for any prospective writer or blogger is to get yourself a Twitter account. The potential reach you can achieve doesn’t compare to anywhere else, so if you aren’t on Twitter you will most probably struggle to reach potential readers.

You’re going to need a handle (username). This can be creative or simple. Both work fine and yet again another important attribute outside of the trio looms.

To give yourself the best possible chance at Twitter success you need to be honest, friendly and decent. Why, you say? Because that’s how I got several thousand followers in just a few years, so you need:

A real profile picture of yourself;

A friendly bio that describes who you are, what you do. The more inviting, fun and friendly the better;

A pinned Tweet – a tweet you can put at the top of your profile that relays what you currently have available/currently writing, what’s coming soon or even a link to your book or blog;

To engage with others by commenting, offering help and advice, being friendly, supportive and decent;

To be honest. Trust me most twitter types are drawn it.

This also includes a following strategy that consists of:

Following those who follow you;

Unfollowing those who no longer follow you;

Following those who interest you.

Now you might be asking what exactly do I tweet about? My mantra is to tweet about anything as long as it informs, inspires, entertains or provides some level of value – this will normally lead to some engagement but if not it’s probably due to lack of visibility because of a low follower count. I will typically add at least one hashtag to that tweet also.

Popular hashtags for authors and bloggers include: #author #writer #blogger #writingcommunity #amwriting #amreading.

Twitter is a wonderful arena full of folks just like you, and together the voice of authors and bloggers is louder trust me.

For absolute beginners it might feel like nobody is listening or seeing your posts. This is only reflective of your current following. At the very beginning tweet less and spend more time commenting on the tweets of others. Explore hashtags and search for folks who you have a common interest with.

Twitter takes some time and effort to work out and has a very specific psychology to master. As long as you are approachable and lightly social, you’ll be okay but remember, it takes time and above all, good conversation between you and others. Before you experience any type of external success (book sales/blog views) your audience will need to feel like they can trust you. This can only be achieved long term and through genuine interactions. I call this the ‘Algorithm of Trust’.

This post is an exclusive excerpt of self help book ‘Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age’ which is available now.

10 ways to sell a book without dropping the link on social media…

Every day I see hundreds of authors on social media dropping the links to their works. Some even blindly drop them on other users posts without asking or even context. First off, no bad feelings to anyone who does drop links, sometimes it can be effective to generate sales but I have ten other things to try instead.

Based upon observations and experience over time here are 10 ways to sell a book without dropping the link on social media…

1. Create and share a book banner

You’ll find most of the methods on this list to be visual because visual is what a lot of marketing on the internet is based upon and it is very effective. While scrolling the various social media feeds every so often something does grab our interest and it is normally visual.

While people do judge a book by its cover, an opportunity to capitalise on that concept further is by using a book banner. In terms of scope, the sky is the limit and I would say any book banner that heightens the theme or visual-ness of a book cover is an effective way to grab attention on social media.

These days and with the world of online picture editing being easily accessible, anyone can put together an effective book banner. I’ve created most of mine through pixlr but I have even used Fiverr and paid for them like the one below. From experience, book banners do work for selling books especially if it is clear enough where to find that book.

Top Tip: If your book is easy enough to find, all you really need is to tell people where it is – that is what the majority of this list is based upon. So make it easy for potential readers, have a permanent link in your profile/bio or even encourage folks to search for it on Amazon. In 2021 and on many social media platforms the algorithms tend to not push links as hard. If I can find a book after seeing an effective book banner, I’ll probably be inclined to buy it.

2. Share a Recent Review

There are so many reasons why sharing a review will positively contribute towards selling your work. First of all I would make sure it is a positive review and again the sky is the limit. You could quote that review in a simple tweet or Facebook status, you could even put it on your own book banner and share it on Instagram. As you can see from my billboard below I received a bunch of reviews just after release of ‘CCC’ and put them all together. Then I shared it across multiple platforms. You’ll see I even included each reviewers work because for this case they were all authors and so I was more than happy to plug their works also.

Top Tip: Quoting reviews and even giving a shout-out to the reviewer will get some positive attention – others might feel inclined to read and review your work if you are sharing their reviews in front of a social media audience.

3. Share a Screenshot of an Excerpt

While book covers and banners are awesome, sometimes a reader wants to actually read something, so how about a screenshot of an excerpt. A few paragraphs of a scene or even the introduction can fit into a screenshot sized picture and it makes for something different to share – variety is key when it comes to promoting a book. Because social media is plugged in to so many people scrolling you never know who could discover it, maybe your next reader.

4. Share a Selfie of Your Book

Those who know me will know that book selfies do sell books and this is a concept that I kind of accidentally discovered after releasing my debut novel ‘Open Evening’ some years ago. One of my readers shared a selfie and then someone else did until folks were doing it everywhere. Pets were even included!

5. Create a Simple Trailer

It may take a little more effort than a book banner but I consider a trailer to be a moving and perhaps even talking version of a book banner. I’ve created some simple but very effective trailers over the years using mainly free to download software. Here’s a recent one that I did for hopefully next years release.

6. Talk about your Books…

It might feel like your are just shouting into the empty void much of the time on social media but if you keep talking eventually somebody will answer. Talking about your works is a highly effective way to inform readers that they exist and the inputs for this are many. From putting together a thread on twitter to even discussing what inspired your works on a blog, sometimes a little extra information goes a long way to selling a book. To me, there is the blurb and then there’s what the actual story is about – confide in your social media following and they might be interested in your words.

Just recently I put out several twitter threads over the space of a week that contained fun facts about each of my works. I sold a copy of each book after – a good job done.

Every time I share my book promo results on this blog someone buys the book(s) mentioned. Just name dropping them will sometimes drive interest and as long as they are findable, people will buy them. Just last week and the day before the launch of my latest book I wrote a rallying blog post and it resulted in multiple pre-orders. Get talking authors.

7. Share your Statistics

While being an author can be solitary experience you are not alone and a great way to bridge that gap is to share your results. Personally I find comfort in knowing that other authors are in the same boat as me and it is also inspiring to see when an author does well. That’s why I believe it is important to share your statistics sometimes. Authors who are doing well or even those who aren’t will only really benefit from sharing – someone will see your progress or struggle and may decide to lend a hand.

8. Share a Relatable Meme/Something with Common Interest

Those who did tune in to my previous book release results post will know that sharing content with common interest is an effective way to talk about your work and sell it without actually mentioning it that much. So what do I mean? Well, sharing something that is within the same interest as your book will drive interest towards it like a meme or even a story about something in the same genre.

9. Supporting Others

Ah, the pillar that holds up everything for me. You’ll even find the inner message to my recently released self-help authoring and blogging book is to support others because:

  1. Supporting others feels good and makes the writing industry better for everyone.
  2. Supporting others is the best way to earn trust.

Personally you can only earn trust with honesty, if you are dishonest even if you appear to be helping others you will eventually get found out. Trust is what you need for readers to invest in you.

I have learned over many years that supporting others will eventually support you in some capacity. This is a long game but mostly with all the things I do to support others, I hardly have time to post my own book link anymore.

But what can you do to support others?

  1. Buy and review an authors book.
  2. Retweet, like, follow and support a fellow author or anyone else on the tweet machine.
  3. Engage in conversation on social media.
  4. Share your experiences so others can learn.
  5. Tell your friends about this blog post…
  6. The list goes on…

10. Make an Author Video

Even though it might take some effort, making a video starring you is great way to promote yourself and that book of yours. Over the years I have kept my appearances to the minimum, in fact, I have only appeared on video once on Twitter and it was to celebrate reaching 10,000 followers. You can see that here.

From reading a book excerpt to just saying thank you, appearing in a video might feel daunting but with a few practice runs you’ll do great and appearing in person is a great way for people to connect with you. Be sure to mention that book of yours while you are on video.

Concluding Thoughts

All you really need to sell books on social media is to create an easy way for potential readers to find it after they know it exists.

The ‘exists’ part is doing all of the above to get the book in front of as many eyes as possible. While I am not totally against the idea of sharing links on social media I do find that they tend to get less engagement than anything else. There is a time and a place to share your link but just dropping it on someone else’s post without asking is not the way and also constantly dropping links doesn’t look particularly social on social media. On Twitter you’ll see a self promo post nearly every day, sometimes I’ll drop my link and sometimes I’ll just drop a banner instead.

The best way to sell books on social media is to find a way to stand out, do what others aren’t doing. While it may seem like everyone is dropping their links, do something different, it will work eventually.

Hopefully this post was helpful, if it was, be sure to share it on your social media feeds, whether or not you include the link, that’s up to you!

If you did enjoy this post and found it useful you might be interested in my self-help guide book for authors and bloggers which is available now. There are plenty of tips and guides designed to help a fellow creative.

Book Release Results – May 2021

Okay, this isn’t my first rodeo in releasing books and over the years I’ve tried to keep my expectations grounded but I have concluded that releasing a new book as an indie author in the social media age no matter how high your following, is like trying to draw blood from a stone… Great start right? But it gets better below…

Even with that engaged and loyal following it just seems we are fighting against the elements. The elements being the social media platforms who only push certain posts – that’s the true competition here, overcoming the algorithms to simply get the message across. In order to have a successful book launch – there are many inputs but above all you need to grind out sales in anyway reasonably possible. Remember the ‘reasonable’ part, we can only do so much that is regarded as sensible to try and sell.

This feature length post will dive into everything I did to overcome the algorithms and fight back with the methods I used to firstly promote that fact I had a book coming, then promote the pre-order and then the actual release for my 7th indie published book – a guide book about authoring and blogging. My hope is that a fellow author can take something from this to have a better or at least successful launch.

1. Initial Promotion

To me, the promotion of a book should begin as soon as an author begins writing. This has several inputs but the most important thing you can do is talk about the coming project via social media at the earliest possible moment. Even if you have just started drafting, most of the time us writer folk will know if we have a project that will become a book.

Of course this is also at your own discretion, perhaps sharing the full plot and main character arcs might be overkill and some authors won’t even share the title in fear of plagiarism which is okay. Share what feels comfortable to you. Use a placeholder title, hell, this time I even put together a mock up book cover. My advice would be to start slow, on social media, variety is key, so every now and then drop a hint that you have a book coming.

Common Interest

If you have a common interest with the book you are writing then perhaps think about sharing content that is related to it and not directly your book – writing a book about witches and vampires? Try sharing interesting stuff about that on social media while relating it to your work – maybe a few vampire memes or something fun. For me and back in August I started drafting my self-help guide book for authors and bloggers. This came from a blog post I wrote reflecting about blogging and I have always shared my book promotion results so I had a common interest because the project was going to contain blog advice and book promotion results. From August 2020 all the way up to April 2021 I shared my book promotion results, social media guides and every other type of resource I could – all of them relate to my book and lots of folks read them. You can find most of them over in the resources section via the menu above.

Quite early on I also envisioned a release date that would be in April/May and so then I booked my awesome cover artist for then. Now all I had to do was write the damn thing…

Ramp Up Social Media Presence

From August all the way to May I spent way more time on social media and specifically Twitter which is now my #1 platform. My motivations in writing kind of evolved during this time, I was already supporting fellow authors with reviews but now I wanted to go further and help them more by sharing my experiences from over the years. My belief now is that helping the writing industry will eventually help me in some way but if not at least somebody has got something positive from my social media engagement. Sales is not something that drives me, it never has, writing and now helping others drives me.

By December 2020 I hit 5000 Twitter followers, by January it was 6000 and by the end of April I hit 9000. That will tell you how much of an opportunity Twitter is to gain a following and I was at least doing something right. All I did was show up every day and try to share something helpful. Just sharing links and being sales driven will not work long term. Connecting with people on a personal level will.

I was also continually blogging with all types of subjects from those book reviews to various guides I put together. Readers always want new content and so I was providing that. The title to my guide book is ‘Consistent Creative Content’ and to me that is what you need for success. I really did put in the work for this and for much of the time I treated it like a job but importantly it was fun.

Having Other Books Will Promote Newer Books

Some of you might be sick of hearing this but my top book promotion advice is to write more books. Having more books as an author will entice readers to at least check them out if they enjoyed something you’ve written.

Between August 2020 and May of 2021 I promoted my other works through advertising and price reductions, some were even free. I had 6 of them to promote and the more works you have the more things you can do to promote them.

My super hero comedy ‘The Teleporter’ was even advertised with BookBub via a Featured Deal in February 2021.

10,000 people downloaded the book in one day and soon after it made Amazon best seller. Reviews and ratings poured in and soon reached over 100. All of this stuff worked as good advertising for my coming guide book as I shared it on social media. I also shared how I got the Featured Deal. All of this helped the cause for promoting an upcoming author guide book. Persistence and mostly hard work to stay present on social media basically convinced BookBub to say yes among some other factors.

You can see from the picture above that my book made it as a best seller with less than 30 ratings. If my book can get that, then yours certainly can!

Gradual is Key

The key to this initial stage is to take it gradual, even with my tight schedule of initial draft in August to release in May, I wasn’t spending every hour of every day tweeting about it. I consider Book Releases a big time one off event every year like Christmas – the rest of my endeavours like blogging and even individual tweeting is like a weekend in that sense. That’s a weird analogy but the key to this is to spend more time being a person on social media as opposed to being sales focused. Sales will come naturally if you go about your day on social media with an aim to just connect while producing regular content – there are so many awesome people online who just want to talk – even as an introvert I value talking and many of them will also appreciate your content – whether it is blog stuff or just tweets. .

Gradual is also important to you can avoid the ‘b’ word – burnout, which is a real and sometimes a crushing thing. I try to stay busy and do the work – this way I tend to avoid even thinking about being tired. There is no finish line so I just keep going gradually. When I do get down about this deal I take a step back and stay off social media for a while. Even a few hours away and a nice walk will clear my head.

Nuts and Bolts

This post won’t really focus on the details of what goes into putting a book together. I’ll call them the nuts and bolts for the purpose of this one but this stuff is basically the editing, beta readers, cover artist organisation and release date decision which is all part of the initial section because you need it before the next section.

Initial Reveals

So let’s say you have a completed, edited and polished manuscript that is ready to be uploaded to Amazon or your book retailer of choice. You also have a professional looking cover. At this stage I firstly published a blurb reveal on this blog and then when the cover was ready I published a cover reveal but on this occasion I used that reveal to also launch the pre-order…

Top tip: Using a cover reveal to also promote a pre-order is good little surprise for potential reviewers and in my sense drove some early pre-orders. Consider it a two in one type of deal.

2. The Pre-Order

Some of you might be thinking, why a pre-order? Why not just launch the thing and be done? Who the in the hell actually has any demand as an indie author to get someone to pre-order my work? Well friends, that’s the opportunity a pre-order presents.

To me running a pre-order is a vital middle stage of a book’s release and you only really get one chance with a book release so why not do something before to ramp up further promotion – that’s my thinking anyway.

Amazon allow you to set up a pre-order for your ebook and this is something I strongly suggest you take advantage of. Why? Well firstly you’ll have an Amazon product page to share and play with – this is huge for driving traffic towards your work. Normally after 12 so hours of setting up the page will be live on Amazon, all you really need is the cover and blurb – you can upload the manuscript file later. Having an actual Amazon URL means you can also bring the book promotion advertisers into play. Consider running a pre-order as opening a door of opportunity.

The most vital reason why you should set up a pre order is because when somebody does order it, you’ll be able to climb the charts. After launching my pre-order late on a Friday night this gave me opportunity to start sharing it on the weekend and weekend social media pre-pandemic days is always busy so there’s plenty of opportunity. This is a break down of the days leading up to release I spent promoting the book.

Day One

Pre-order goes live on Amazon. Its a Saturday so I utilize the shameless self promo Saturday hashtag and put out a tweet. I attach the link to the cover reveal/pre-order launch to that tweet.

With Twitter in play and my blog (for the cover reveal), I now put out a post via Instagram and Facebook. Fly my pretties! Some of my followers are only present on one platform so this guarantees extra coverage.

By the end of day one, my book hit’s #1 in the hot new releases chart on Amazon UK for Writing Reference. As you can see there are a few big names around the top of this chart.

Total Pre-orders for Day One:

9 – an exceptional start!

Day Two

For the time this book is on pre-order I’m doing my best to try and share stuff about it with variety and not just sharing the link all day. As far as I am aware Twitter and Facebook do their best to bury your posts if they contain links – this is just from my experience anyway. Day 1 started really slow but picked up later on and became quite phenomenal. So by Day two, I made sure to share the chart above to my following which drove a few more pre orders. Again I spread the posting out to other platforms – Instagram and FB.

I then put together a book banner because book banners just add a little more to the visual appeal of a book. During this day I also replaced the placeholder book cover with the actual cover in all of my guides on this blog. My longer term plan was to share one of these posts every day (common interest).

In terms of tweeting, I did tweet about the book a few times but my focus was on sharing the free content on this blog and so on this day I shared my ‘Building an Algorithm of Trust‘ post about Twitter success.

Total Pre-orders for day Two:

2 increasing the total to 11 (this is such a grind but those numbers are great)

Day Three

The reason I say this is such a grind is because although I am putting in every effort not to directly share the link it is still hard and I’m not sure whether or not my stuff is visible. Are my followers seeing my posts? Is the algorithm stopping me? Just have to keep going.

So day three is here and it is a Monday which means business as usual. Twitter is a different landscape during the week, users are at work or just busy so trying to get the attention of them is harder. I share a guest post on this blog and dive into the tweeting. In my head more ideas are forming on how to share more of my self help book to entice more pre-orders. Because the Amazon product page is currently in pre-order nobody can preview the book so I decide to put the first few pages into a blog post excerpt and I’ll share it on day four. Of course this post will include links. I make a point of telling my following to expect the excerpt tomorrow – it is well received.

I spend my day tweeting and confiding in my followers. This post was my mood…

Total pre-orders for day three:

4 increasing the total to 15 (this has now beaten the pre-order total for my last release!)

Day Four

The excerpt goes live on my blog and I wait. Of course the tweet about it doesn’t get the best amount of attention, I even put the link in the comment below as opposed to the main tweet but still it got swallowed up I think. This is the grind I’m talking about. You build an engaged following who are interested in you personally and are willing to buy from you but then you share a link and its a ghost town. Being the little person sucks sometimes…

To add more to that concept of being the little person, today I attempted to run a Facebook ad and had my account suspended for doing so. I’m not sure why. Perhaps they thought it was someone else trying to advertise my book on my account…

At the close of Day four I put out a tweet sharing a guide on how I got 5 thousand tweet machine followers. Again the reception isn’t great although this is a dated guide. The grind continues but I’ve still got a few more tricks up my sleeve. Just have to keep going.

Total pre-orders for day Four:

2 increasing the total to 17

Day Five

Today I have a masterplan to get more eyes on my tweets. Of course my mantra is to share stuff that someone can find some value in, whether it be something helpful or even fun. My plan is to first share my greatest statistic as an indie author to just show others we can be successful and secondly I am going to change my pinned tweet.

Top tip: After changing your pinned tweet ask your following to retweet it and do the same for them. Guaranteed exposure that will push your tweet around with little effort.

The statistics tweet and pinned tweet thing went quite well. After that I also shared my recent sales figures which had the best daily sales average ever and included a tip in that tweet.

My greatest statistic

Total pre-orders for day five:

2 increasing the total to 19

Day Six

Todays masterplan includes advertising the pre-order to include a free book. See my tweet below.

Now I thought of this little deal overnight and personally I think its an awesome idea. The only problem is nobody else seemed to think so. Was the algorithm blocking me from getting this to my following? Thinking about it further maybe sending me screenshot of the pre-order is just too much effort and maybe most of them have already downloaded the Teleporter. Either way its good to try new ideas, if they fail so be it. Nothing lost.

Today I gained a single pre-order keeping what is now referred to as a streak, alive.

Total pre-orders for day six:

1 increasing the total to 20

Day Seven

Today my sights are firmly set on celebrating the milestone of 10,000 Twitter followers which eventually happens early afternoon. For a while I’ve been thinking of what I’m going to say and so I take a wild stab at recording a short video.

The reaction was positive and supportive. 10k is going to take a while to sink in and for my efforts even a single pre-order came in. The grind continues and I can’t help but be thankful for the support!

Total pre-orders for day seven:

1 increasing the total to 21

Day Eight

Saturday again and I intentionally set up the pre-order to run through 2 weekends as for me they appear to be busier for traffic and engagement which in turn drives sales. Of course I run a self promo post on Twitter and drop several links in the comments for the various guides you can find via my resources section. I share the excerpt again. It has come to the attention of some authors that Amazon seems to not be working – some books including mine aren’t searchable on their site. Great – more odds stacked against me.

Total pre-orders for day eight:

1 increasing the total to 22 – this is now double my last pre-order run!

Day Nine

The grind continues, this is becoming quite a slog but I’m hanging in there and remain hopeful that those who haven’t pre ordered might show up for the release day. That would be awesome and special to me. I would really like this to be my best release ever. Today I tweet quite a lot and speak about book selfies which in fact do sell books from experience. Of course I run a self promo post because Sunday is a good day for that and I link a book promotion results blog post to it.

Amazon seems to be working again now and the book is searchable.

Somehow and with odds against me we get a single pre-order which keeps my hope and the ‘streak’ alive.

Total pre-orders for day nine:

1 increasing the total to 23

Day Ten

Monday is here and it is the week of the release! Work is priority today (my day job) and it is a long day. I’m unable to find much time to spend on social media and there is no blog post today either so eventually I share the post about getting a BookBub featured deal – I’m kind of just waiting for the release now. The streak will probably end today although I am keeping the faith and after work I dive back into tweeting. It is looking like the awesome and flawless run of order is over.

Somehow we get a surprise…

This wonderful author Emma Jordan arrived at just the right time and saved the streak! Therefore I happily paid it back and added her book to my TBR list. After promising to give a shout out to anyone who pre-ordered the book I then get another pre-order on the same night! Faith restored – this is becoming quite an exceptional thing. I’m looking at the perfect pre-order run – maybe I do know what I am doing!

Late that night I get a message from a fellow author and blogger who wants to interview me, of course I say yes.

Total pre-orders for day ten:

2 increasing the total to 25 (ten straight days of pre-orders! I’ve never known anything like this…)

Day Eleven

With a spring in my step after yesterday’s awesomeness I set out to put together a twitter thread on how I got ten consecutive days of pre-orders – this is a great opportunity to share and help others while advertising my efforts – a win win situation in my eyes.

Although this thread is well received, no pre-orders are coming in so far and it is starting to get late. By the late afternoon I know that the US followers are online and so I push the semi-panic button – I put out a tweet asking for RT’s for my pinned tweet in exchange for RT’ing theirs. The notifications come flying in… My pinned tweet – a video of me celebrating 10k follows from last week spreads around the twitterverse.

The interview I did for a fellow author and blogger Megan Hinde goes live and does rather well in reaching indie authors. I talk about writing and where it could go – this was nice to talk about. You can read that here.

It is getting late and no pre-order, maybe the streak is about to end. A perfect run would have been awesome but 10 days in a row is still fantastic. In one last ditch effort I ask and…

Pre-order 26 arrives at the very end of a day well spent promoting and tweeting. The support from my followers is truly exceptional and this is proof that I am able to sell books to the individual and if you can do that, then you can sell to multiple individuals. Of course I then gave this awesome follower a shout out!

Total pre-orders for day eleven:

1 increasing the total to 26

Day Twelve

And so the final day of the pre-order run is here. I’m part-excited, part-jittery, part-tired and just want this book out there now. 26 orders is better than I imagined. If I can get just one order today then this would have been a truly historic moment. This whole time I’ve just been leveraging social media and blogging – no adverts, just socials. My plan today is simple, do some light tweeting and put out a final rallying blog post on here.

My Weekly Ramble post goes live and almost instantly a single pre-order comes through.

We did it. We fu**ing did it. A small time indie managed to get a perfect score on a pre-order! An order every damn day since launch. But then the truly incredible happens, 3 more come in.

Reflection

Just under 2 weeks for a pre-order with 2 weekends is just about the right length in my eyes. I’m almost dead but as someone once said ‘superstardom is close to post-mortem’ and so yes it was taxing but overall worth it. Now with the release on Thursday that gives me room to promo and leverage the blog and social media until the weekend in 2 days time.

3. The Release

Having now released seven books in the last six years I firmly believe that no matter what happens at release it is never too late to sell a book or find success. The release to me is day one of a journey in which that book takes. At the point of this book’s release I am physically and mentally done. While the support has been phenomenal and the graphic above proves that, I need a vacation and more importantly I need to go away from promo mode and write – that’s what truly matters to me, the releasing of books and everything that goes into it is such a grind but from what I achieved it is possible to find success. This is especially so for anyone who starts this journey from zero – I’m talking to you fellow indie author and please use this post as hope and inspiration that you can find success as a creator. This journey in the latter stages was paved by some wonderful supporters who I will continue to engage with everyday on here and through my other social media channels. They were the true power in all of this and my will to never ever give up.

This section will be quite short because at the time of writing the release has only just happened and to me the life of a book only really starts then. Where it will go is governed by time and the support is has got through a fantastic against the odds pre-order run.

The good thing about having such a great pre-order run is that I’ve already done the work to sell my books to readers who now already have the book on their devices. This meant that on release day I focused more on celebrating than actually pushing to sell more. To me, the work is done and an almighty amount of pressure was released on this day. We all have expectations and now everything begins to subside.

That kind of wraps things up for a post that is rather long. Below you shall find some concluding points to use as reference for a successful launch. I wouldn’t be an indie author if I didn’t try to sell you something so you can find pretty much everything it took to get to this point in the main subject of this post; my book which is out now.

If you type ‘Consistent Creative Content Lee Hall’ into Amazon, it should come up.

Peace out, thanks for reading.

Concluding points of everything above in short form:

Talk about the project at the earliest possible time. Start slow and ramp up.

Use a placeholder cover and working title if necessary.

Common interest – share stuff that has something in common with your book, even a meme or something fun.

Ramp up social media presence – gradually being on there more will eventually drive results if you post and engage with others. This might interest potential readers.

Promote other works if applicable – more books sells more books…

Launching and running a pre-order is good for ramping up promotion of a release.

I incorporated the cover reveal and pre-order launch in one go.

You’ll have an Amazon product page to share and use for advertisement and chart placement if you do get orders.

Around 14 or so days works well for promotion of the pre-order with a couple of weekends included in that time. This is plenty of time to create a couple of pinned tweets on twitter and ask your following to RT them.

Share an excerpt of your book via your blog if you have one. The Amazon product page doesn’t allow potential readers to ‘look inside’ a book on pre-order.

It will be a grind, but keep going and keep trying to find different ways to overcome the algorithms and get your book out there to readers by just being social online. You can do it because I did!

Blurb Reveal: ‘Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age’ By Lee Hall

Okay, here goes the blurb reveal for Book 7 which is a self help guide book for authors and bloggers. Pre-order now for a discounted price!

Best-selling indie author and blogger Lee Hall shares his journey of experience in this part-memoir part-guidebook that aims to inspire and inform budding wordsmiths at any level. From the basics of blogging and authoring all the way to advanced social media methods and marketing; this book is filled with good practical advice, top tips and effective strategies. You’ll even find some never before shared resources to help navigate your way to authoring and blogging success in the social media age. Subjects include:

Basic and advanced blogging;

Basic authoring and a publishing overview;

Social media for authors and bloggers;

Book marketing and the art of indirect selling;

Book promotion strategies. Including worked examples;

Book reviews;

Building your own turning point and identifying when that ‘wave of success’ is coming;

Practicing self-care.

Plus, a whole host of resources with links to the various guides and tutorials Lee has published via his highly successful Hall of Information blog.

After selling hundreds of books and getting thousands of blog views, you’ll discover how Lee Hall published six books in five years through a detailed road map and how he put together the building blocks of success to sell books and gain social media traction. This easy-to-read guide will inspire the modern-day author and blogger to achieve the same by carving their own path and all you need is Consistent Creative Content.

‘You can do this, quite simply because I did and you might even leapfrog anything I’ve achieved…”

Weekly Ramble #105

Over the past weekend we crossed eight thousand tweet machine followers! Although things are moving real quick at the moment its a pinnacle milestone because this time last year it only stood at half that. I suppose that’s the wonder of social media and being plugged in to it, things can jump quickly sometimes, especially if you put in the time.

This humble blogging effort is also in the milestone territory of 800 follows which I must applaud all of you for. The support you have shown is incredible and good things are coming, I promise. Right now I’m taking a short break to write this entry, a break from being in the intense thunder dome of editing my next release which is less than a month away hopefully.

‘Consistent Creative Content’ has become a mission of mine to get right but I’ve been incredibly lucky to learn so much over the years and then even more fortunate to receive professional level feedback from my BETA readers. Seriously, these folks have gone above and beyond any realm that I expected – knowing good people has become something I’m incredibly lucky at seemingly. If you get yourself out there and connect with others, eventually you’ll find the same. Just got to keep going…

Weekly Ramble #103

The stats are the greatest they have ever been for this blog. This month for the first time we broke the 2000 view barrier. Driven by consistent creative content and a loyal readership (you) this Hall of Information is reaching greater and greater heights by the day. Its almost like things are aligning all of a sudden although it has taken a long time to reach this point.

Any worthwhile venture takes time and this blog’s eventual success has proven that. From the initial launch all the way back in 2014 to the many different steps its taken. All of this has been governed by innovation and by that I mean the sheer will to find new ideas that work in reaching readers. Offering book reviews turned a corner although that took at least a year to establish any level of notoriety – only recently have I had to close submissions. And now the next step is upon us.

You can expect even more diverse content as a new era unfolds for this Hall of Information because more and more guest writers are submitting excerpts and articles. We are at a point now where the next two weeks of guest spots are fully booked which tells me we are doing something right. The best way a blog can grow is to produce more content and content that is diverse. I am now outsourcing some of it because only one man can write so much. In the next few weeks you’ll be seeing posts that will hopefully elevate the creators and keep you entertained. My aspiration for the future is to create a network of blogging where more and more writers contribute while also benefiting from the exposure of this blog’s following which is constantly growing. This has been further galvanised by an engaged and responsive Twitter following and I hoping to bring that here.

At the very forefront of this blog is book reviews and author support. That will continue because it is the centre pillar of everything to me only now it will be accompanied by a lot more content that hopes to help others further and inspire readers. We are always looking for new ways to entertain and inform the awesome supporters of this blog and so that next step beckons!

Submissions are still open for guest posts which has now been extended to sharing excerpts of books. Got an awesome first page or a memorable scene? We are happy to feature it here in front of an awesome growing audience. Head on over to the submissions page for more information.