My Top 5 Blog Posts of 2020

It’s December, a time to look back and reflect on what has been a good year for the Hall of Information. There have been some true highlights that have defined the era of quarantine with nothing but good memories of blogging. We thank you kind follower for joining us so for those who might have missed some of the best performing posts this year here’s a countdown style rundown…

Numero 5

‘6 Years of Blogging – Here’s what I learned…’

We don’t need much of an excuse these days to put out a blog post but back in July we celebrated 6 years of doing just that. During those years I’ve learned a thing or two and fashioned such lessons into this post which then served as the basis for a self help guide book I have set for release next year. 26 other awesome bloggers like this post which is near personal best territory…

Numero 4

500 Followers Special – Awesome bloggers who deserve recognition!

It’s hard to believe that all the way back in April this celebratory post dropped and it focuses on the bloggers who have helped this Hall of Information grow into what it is today. Things have moved pretty fast in recent times and now we are on our way to 700 followers so I can imagine there will be one of these posts again in the near future. I highly recommend you follow all the bloggers mentioned…

Numero 3

Break Them All!!: A Modern Era Awakening! by DRTao – Review

Yes, a book review made it on this list which for me is the dream scenario because reviewing books is what we do here. If one person buys a book based on my recommendation then this would have all been worth it. This self help book I picked up all the way back in early February serves as a unique insight into breaking the so called shells that govern our existence. Well worth a look!

Numero 2

Book Promotion Results September 2020 Pt1

Supporting and helping fellow authors is the best way to support the industry you are in and if you support that industry it will support you, trust me. In recent times these book promotion posts have helped many authors navigate the murky waters of trying to sell books they have also got an awesome amount of views. If you have something people need, they will flock to it.

Numero uno

Book Promotion Results – July 2020

As you can see there’s a theme to the top end of this countdown and the most viewed post of 2020 is more book promotion results in the form of a guide which has hopefully helped others. We pride ourselves on helping others and it has paid off by bringing new traffic to this site and new books to read. Long may it continue!

That wraps up a fun but hopefully very useful list for fellow authors and bloggers. Tomorrow – the best books I have read this year. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

‘Amazon Keywords for Books: How to Use Keywords for Better Discovery on Amazon’ by Dale L. Roberts – Review

Essential reading for marketing books effectively while gaining a better understanding of Amazon key words and beyond..

There is so much information in this clear and concise guide which is designed to help anyone who is published via Amazon reach readers through the concept of shared interests using keywords – while this may sound technical and it might be but Dale L. Roberts explains this concept flawlessly and easily. Not once did I have to re-read anything although I will be going back many times to use this guide as a reference point to improve my own book marketing efforts. While reading it I have already implemented some of the valuable advice given.

The guide begins with Dale relaying a conversation he had with a few old friends who share the same interests and this serves as an example throughout in how we can find an audience that can relate to our books to eventually drive sales. That ideal reader is out there and we just need to build a bridge to them through keywords. Of course we get a plethora of information on keywords like what they are, why they are important and how best to use them. It’s upfront about the fact keywords aren’t all that sell books but they are indeed important.

The world of selling books on Amazon can be daunting especially if you don’t know much about it but this guide has given me a lot more than I used to know and there are even some other valuable outside the box tips that opened my eyes. From search engine algorithms to the relevancy of key words alongside many more useful articles linked throughout and at the end of what I consider an essential read for all authors.

5 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

Discounted Book(s) Alert!

Hello cultured follower. Some of you may know that in my spare time I write books. Now there are a bunch of you who have taken the time to read, review and generally be an awesome supporter of them. Of course there are some newer folks who might not have read them or read all of them, and right now 4 of these books are discounted to 99 cents per e-copy. Banners, links and info below, enjoy…

The Ghost Beside Me

Inspired partly by a true ghost story my Grandfather told me when I was much younger and partly from a potentially paranormal experience of my own in a previous place I lived; ‘Ghost’ makes for a unique diary style account of one lonely person’s quest to get over his social awkwardness by way of an entity not of the mortal persuasion. It’s powerful, gripping and quick – basically the best advert for my writing there is because if you liked this book you’ll probably read my other stuff but if you didn’t it’s only a few hours reading so you haven’t lost much…

The Teleporter

Let’s face it, we all need to laugh more. And considering this is my only comedy book (unless you laughed at the others) you’ll probably find something that’ll get you laughing in this story of one slouch who get’s superpowers and decides to do the right thing. It’s also novella length so again, nothing lost if you don’t like it. There’s a range of diverse characters and it’s also a middle finger to the nearly previous President…

Open Evening and Darke Blood

The two oldest rides in the fairground are and always will be 99 cents from now on. They mark the beginning of my journey and the Order of the Following Series which is still running strong. From hive mind creatures to vampires, the two worlds in these books eventually collide later on making for a multi character Avengers of the Occult world.

Well there we are cultured followers, that’s about all I have in terms of pitching my books to you. Click on the banners for the Amazon dot com links. Some more links are below and do let me know if you grab a copy of something – I’ll happily give you a shout out via social media! Rock and roll man!

Amazon UK Page

Amazon Canada Page

Amazon Australia Page

Book Promotion Results October 2020

I’ve been promoting books again, or at least one book anyway and so here’s a breakdown of the results, methods and hopefully something a fellow author can use because we all know marketing is hard… let’s dive in…

Introduction/Aim

It’s important to start with some kind of plan or at least something to aim for when it comes to promoting books. For this promotional run, my ghost story novella ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ was going to be free for a few days before and on the day of Halloween via kindle. My aim, to get as many free downloads as possible during that time.

Although this is a great way of generating many downloads, my voice alone isn’t loud enough to tell everyone so I invested in some methods listed below.

Top tip: Promoting a Ghost story over Halloween in theory is a good idea. Some genres work better during different seasons. Another example would be my super hero comedy book which always sells better in summer months (northern hemisphere) as it makes for a beach read. Have you got a Christmas themed story coming up? December is closing in. Timing is important folks…

Strategy – how was I going to do it?

As mentioned I would firstly set the price of my book to free via Kindle Direct Publishing. If your e book is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited they allow you so many days every so often to make that book free for promotional purposes. In terms of target market, because it will be free, we were aiming for everyone – free books are more of a blanket approach in terms of targeting. There are some authors who insist they’ll never make their work available for free – you’ll probably never reach a larger scale audience if you think that way, no matter how special you think that book is…

How exactly was I going to reach as many people as possible?

  1. Book Promotion websites that offer paid advertising. Websites listed below.
  2. Via my social media following – 4k twitter followers and 500+ blog followers and 500+ Facebook page followers.

There are many paid and free book promotion sites that do a great job in reaching readers. When running a promo I would recommend using them and in my case I spread them out over the three days the book would be free. This is also a great way of knowing which sites are effective.

Top tip: When paying for anything online make sure you use a reputable payment service such as PayPal. There are also many authors like myself who will share results highlighting who are the better sites so remember to do your research.

Results

As you can see nearly 2000 people downloaded the book across 9 different Amazon territories over the 3 days. Day 2 was the most popular and we even got a number 1 chart position over in the US, so let us look at the methods I used in detail.

Methods in Detail

The following things made this promo a success:

Existing Book Reviews

Let’s face it, getting book reviews is a struggle but the one’s we get help immensely when running a promo as lot’s of traffic will be passing by your book page to see them. If there are just a few reviews that will increase the chances of that book being downloaded. In my case ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ had a healthy number of reviews in both the UK and US markets. This helped.

Book Promo Sites

The engine room of this promo was the sites I invested in to advertise and tell people about the book.

You can near enough pin point which promo sites were effective. Day 1 only got a handful of downloads.

The sites I used for day 1 were:

My Book Place ($25 Feature)

Book Reader Magazine ($10)

I would most likely not use these sites for this type of promotion again. For $35 I expect a little better… lesson learned and recorded for future use…

For Day 2 which yielded the brunt of my results I used the following sites:

Hotstuff Romance Free Friday Promotion ($15)

Book Angel (Free)

Freebookshub .co.uk ($15)

Book Bongo Book Bump ($9.99) 2 Day Promo

E Book Deals Today ($9.99) 2 Day Promo

Freebooksy Paranormal Romance Deal ($99)

From the results we can gather that the Freebooksy deal which was the most expensive and probably did the most work, but combining promo sites is a great way to spread the word. My advice, if you want maximum downloads be prepared to pay for the advertising.

Social Media

For Day 3 I simply relied on the two day promos alongside a blog post on here and utilizing Shameless Self Promo Saturday over on Twitter. On Day 2 and 3 I also put up a post on the Facebook Page. All of these posts included this book banner.

Top Tip: Get yourself a decent book banner to share your works on. I made this myself via Pixlr but you can get a freelancer to put one together over on Fiverr for a decent price and half the time. Book Promo Banners are an essential visual. Visuals result in sales. The same also goes for a professional looking cover. People do judge books by them…

This is all combined with the fact Day 3 was also Halloween. Here’s what my Twitter post looked like:

Top Tip: When it comes to Twitter, hashtags and getting people to engage are key. You can see on this tweet above I encouraged others to drop links while also providing incentive to Retweet and follow back – incentives and having something to offer are a must for successful engagement.

Factors for Success

So how exactly did I get the results I got?

Firstly I had a plan and an aim – to get as many free downloads.

The book had some existing reviews which helped passers by notice it.

I invested money in advertising.

I implemented and used my social media following with a post that included hashtags and incentive to engage,

It was the right time for a Ghost story promo – Halloween

Book Banners helped for the visual factor along with a professional cover.

Results Further

Since the promo ‘Ghost’ has already received two new reviews which is a huge result but the results for a good promotional run will last a while after with page reads being tracked via KDP and possibly further sales. Overall for a stand alone short read that has only been out 10 months at the time of promo, I’ very happy with the results. This was my last promo of the year and a good one to finish things with.

My advice for anyone looking to promo their own work is to consider the factors for success listed above and of course combine that with your own expectation as there are so many other factors that help sell books – genre, what’s happening in the news etc. This takes time and patience, if you have those things, you’ll be okay.

If you promote your books a handful of times a year there’s no doubt your readership will eventually grow. Investment is the most important thing and not giving up. Thank you for reading, there is a stack of more useful information for authoring and blogging over on the resources page. That is until next year when the self help book arrives. Peace out!

Book Promotion Results September 2020 Pt2 – ‘This time it’s literal….’

Ah promoting the books, I’ve done this a lot recently and we’re back again to share methods, results and all things about the promotion of books. This is also a sequel to another post I put out at the start of the month and this time it’s literal…let’s dive in!

The aim of this post/who is this for…

The main aim of this post is to share results of a recent book promo run by informing other authors how I did it. This is with a hope they can use this info to sell some books. Much of this stuff can be applied to books that are stand alone, series, fiction or non and for all authors of every level – the self help guide book is coming next year… For those not interested in the full detail or a recap from last time just skip down to the actual start of this post…

Previously…

To set the scene, at the beginning of this month I promoted the e version of my thriller/horror ‘Cemetery House’ by making it available for free via Amazon. My main aim consisted of two objectives in this promo run:

1. To get as many free downloads for the book as possible + some discounted sales after.

2. To promote the wider ‘Order of the Following Series‘ it is a part of. The next book in this series (Darke Awakening) drops at the end of this month.

The results of this promo run were unexpected and again quite good. While I have shared the results in the previous post the numbers have gotten a little better since.

A good promo run will give books long term visibility after and drive sales, sometimes these sales come days or weeks later.

As you can see the initial numbers were good…

Updated numbers from part 1…

Free downloads of ‘Cemetery House’ during this run

1,838

Sales of ‘Cemetery House’ after the run @ 99 cents:

6

Sales of other books in the series during and after the run

62

Sales of other books in my backlist

3

Part 2 actually starts here…

Okay so part 2 and book promo run 2 of September 2020 would see the overall aim widen slightly, and with all book promotion runs it’s important to set out a clear aim from the start. Lessons from promo 1 meant that we know when advertising a book that is part of a series, the other books in that series will probably sell also. This time around, the newest book in the series set for release at the month’s end was also available for pre order.

Aims of this promo

The aims of this promo were as follows:

1. To get as many free downloads for ‘Darke Blood’ a vampire occult thriller which is part of the wider Order of the Following series.

It’s not free currently, this is here just to display the banner I used…

2. To get as many sales for other books in the series which are discounted @ 99 cents or equivalent in major Amazon markets.

3. To drive attention towards the next book in the series ‘Darke Awakening’ which is also a direct sequel to the book being promoted for free and will be available to pre order at the time of promo and the hope is to actually get some pre orders.

Strategy – how was I going to do it?

Like the previous promo this book would also be available for free through two days but this time on a Friday and Saturday (18th and 19th of September). My choice to use Saturday was to coincide the promo with Twitter’s #Shamelessselfpromosaturday which in recent times has driven a lot more traffic and attention to my posts. The writing community of twitter is something you should plug into, especially for promotion and engaging with other like minded writers. My following is above 4k and so this works as a good free boost. You can see the results and what that tweet looks like below.

Of course one method of social media is not enough to amplify my voice to tell the world this book is out there and free so I would also put out a post on my Facebook page to 500 likers and a blog post to nearly 500 followers on the 2nd day.

He’ still in pain, like most authors…

My main point of attack in this promo would be as usual to use a range of paid and free book promotion websites that advertise a book using extensive mailing lists and their own sites to reach readers.

Results

Lets look at how it went, then I can share which promo sites I used and what factors of success were…

Day 1

Darke Blood reached #3 in the Amazon UK Occult chart.

Day 2

Darke Blood reached #1 in the Amazon US Folk tales/ Myth collections chart.

Day 3

6 of the ‘Darke Blood’ sales on this day were free downloads that overlapped while 6 were sales at 99 cents.

The best moment of Day 3 was a single pre-order came through for ‘Darke Awakening’ which means that all three aims were now ticked.

Analysis/Factors of success

This was a decent promotional run with exceptional sales of other books in the series most of which were from the US. There was a time when I had only sold 13 or so books in the US and now that figure has been blown wide open. To get a pre order for a brand new release is also huge, although it’s only 1, it’s better than zero!

Factor 1

A huge factor in getting all of these sales and the pre order is listing the books in a series together via Amazon. This boosts visibility big time, especially when one of them is free!

Sub Factor of Factor 1

Just before the promo I did a little sneaky and amended the blurb of ‘Darke Blood’ on Amazon…. This is what I put before the blurb…

Coming September 30th – the next book in the Order of the Following Series – ‘Darke Awakening’ Pre Order Available Now!

Factor 2

At the time of the promotion the 3 books in the series had reviews/ratings in the two major Amazon territories (UK and US). Established books with some reviews always do well when given away for free and those that weren’t free had a good amount of reviews also which helped. Reviews and ratings are useful for selling books as they tell a reader how good/bad a book can be. Getting reviews takes time and so do numbers like this…

This is a stock image, not from my books….

Factor 3

Price is a huge factor in this whole deal and I’m not just referring to everyone liking a freebie. The two other books are both priced at 99 cents or equivalent and this helped, perhaps if they were priced higher they would have been downloaded less.

Factor 4

The promo of ‘Cemetery House’ which was covered in part 1 resulted in 4 new ratings on Amazon soon after which directly effected the decent sales of it during this run. This is proof that one promo run can help another.

Geographical Factor

For this promo I used a few sites that are UK based and this directly drove more sales in that territory.

Basic factors

Great looking professional book covers, investing money and a social media following are all factors that help books get sold. These days I also use book banners which I made myself but for a little money you can probably get some made professionally and they are a nice little touch.

Final Figures

As you can see the two free promos side by side. The first one was indeed more successful and the top factor for that was labour day weekend in the US – people were looking to probably enjoy their weekend with a book or two.

The graphic below with free sales removed looks all the more impressive. Not only does it show paid sales after and during the promo but to date this is the best month of sales I have ever had in nearly 5 years of being published. Context: Upon release of Book 1 ‘Open Evening’ it sold 41 copies in the first month…

Book Promo sites

This whole deal sits on the shoulders of paid advertising and book promotion sites who help amplify that voice so folks can hear you shouting about your work. These are the ones I used:

Bookbongo – Cost $5

Ebook Booster – Cost $20

Bookrunes Cost – $25

Freebooksy (Thriller promo) – Cost $40

Bookzio – FREE

Book Hippo – FREE

Book angel – FREE

As you can see I invested less money for this promo which may have effected it’s overall success but I’m only willing to spend so much..

Final thought

Traction takes time when it comes to books. Over the years I’ve learned a bunch and partially mastered all of the factors that go into selling them. I still firmly believe the best way to market and sell a book is to write another and another until you have a backlist, so keep going writers! Whether or not a book is part of a wider series doesn’t seem to matter.

Getting that one pre order made the whole thing a little sweeter, selling a brand new title is hard especially when it’s the 4th book in a series but the launch is hopefully bolstered by that handful of pre orders. The purpose of this promo was to help establish more readers for that series, did we accomplish that? Time will only tell…

Thanks for taking the time to read, I hope you got something out of this post that will help your writing and book promotion journey. Peace out!