Weekly Ramble #161

The final month of 2022 is here and I’ve still got a stack of things to do. In all truth, I’m always busy and I kind of function that way. This year has thrown me an abundance of curveballs and also some really awesome unexpected moments. After all that has happened I’m happy with the outcome.

Finding peace in any endeavour is a hard thing to do sometimes and reflection of self is a huge part of that. Knowing that there is plenty left to do this year alone will keep me going all the way until the close of what has been a hugely significant time. There are still so many cool things I intend to achieve sooner or later and so as always I’ll keep going. Through the good, bad or indifferent consistency is the key.

You can expect a plethora of content this month on here and Patreon. Stay tuned.

Weekly Ramble #159

Consistency. No matter the trends or events happening, Consistency will always rule. And the results might not always be instant or even obvious but those who do keep going will find them.

I don’t consider my writing or work to have any level of finesse but I work hard and I keep going to make that writing my very best. It isn’t really up to me to say whether or not it is any good and perhaps that’s the real beauty and thrill of being a creative in the social media arena. Readers decide and interpret things in their own ways.

For all the things my journey has represented this year, enduring is the word I’ll use to describe it. Through the strange but mostly wonderful social media interactions to the huge numbers of reviews, sales, follows and even royalties. Things have endured, I have endured and I am still standing after whatever forces, good or bad were thrown my way.

The future is a concept I look to with excitement and possibility but I also know the time is actually now. Every day is an opportunity to shape our future and make it a good one.

I am one with the journey and the journey is one with me.

Thank You for the Awards

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who recently voted for me in the Feed My Reads Awards 2022.

Its an honour to be named both Star of the Book Community 2022 and Biggest Indie Supporter of the Year.

To be supported, mentioned and thought of in such a wonderful way for my efforts in the Writing Community and of course the Indie Book Community is both humbling and special. As a fan of stories and reading that passion eventually urged me at quite a young age to consider pursuing the dream of becoming a writer myself.

On this journey, which has given me a lot of experiences I’ve come to realise I am in the fantastic company of many talented and kind people who make all of this worth it. I’m a firm believer in supporting others to make our industry better and simply because I enjoy reading. Those who do release their words into this world deserve every single ounce of support they can get because it takes a monumental level of bravery to share any type of creativity.

Writers supporting writers is a world that I very much appreciate living in.

Thank you to the awesome Feed My Reads blog for putting together the awards and for the amazing effort. To everyone else who was nominated and those who also won awards – thank you also.

You can watch the full awards ceremony here.

How I Landed my 3rd BookBub Featured Deal

Even though I have always believed in myself, I’m always in a slight state of disbelief when good things actually happen or when something goes as planned. The imposter syndrome will always find a way to creep in but then sometimes good things just align at the exact time. You see, good things arrive exactly when they are supposed to, they are neither late nor early. They arrive always when they are supposed to.

Being a proprietor of never giving up has brought me the best of rewards as a writer and creative online. All of which I firmly believe have pulled together to help me secure the subject of this post; my third BookBub Featured Deal. Hailed as the Holy Grail of Book Promotions in some crowds and I would agree to an extent, the illusive selectors that reside within the inner workings of the original Book Promo site have always been kind to me, no matter how many times they have rejected my efforts, its the times when they say yes that remain memorable and this post is designed to lay out how I secured that third featured deal. It is broken down into headings that I feel relay the most important factors any author needs when trying to secure their own BookBub Featured Deal.

Consistency

At the heart of all of my efforts as a social media creator and author is consistency. You’ll find it everywhere I go from being ever present on Twitter and growing from 3,000 followers in 2020 to 35,000 very recently to the books I have steadily released over the years. 7 in roughly 6 years with numero 8 dropping in a matter of weeks, its even in the same series as Open Evening – perhaps destiny or just chance or simply because I have positioned myself with consistency this has happened. Even the practicality of bothering BookBub with my submissions for their featured deal is part of why I’ve been selected three times. Every month, pretty much like clockwork I apply for a featured deal with one or several of my books with the ever present hope they would say yes. No matter how many times they don’t, the rewards of what a deal involves are too high for me to forget that monthly ritual of throwing the dice or even the coin into the well.

Conduct

You can be a success on Twitter; a conversational platform without sharing hard pressed opinion or something that will insight passionate debate because they are the two things that I have avoided for nearly a decade. And that conduct of mine has propelled my efforts in all departments of my online creativity. From book sales and reviews where hardly any point towards my personal conduct – yes there are reviewers out there who will hold authors accountable for their opinions online, I navigate myself through the sometimes troll heavy, always-an-argument-about-to-explode waters of social media with ease, the same can be said for this blog. BookBub may or may not be watching but if your social media content and posting is one hot mess of opinion, clumsy arguing and full of stuff that not even the hardiest of publicist will touch with a several foot long barge pole, then you’ll probably fall at the first hurdle. First and foremost you are your brand, so if you chose to throw it around like the many anonymous troll types who treat their presence as an anonymous avatar or you simply don’t have a care for what you say online, anything you publish or create will suffer for it.

Duration

Open Evening is my eldest title. It has seen several changes since the initial release such as the odd edit of typo and all the things that come with being able to amend a book that is live and published – not much has changed within as I personally feel going back to edit a book that has been released for a while kind of cheats the reader out of capturing my writing and imagination at a certain time in my life. This book has been a journeyman work horse for me. It has headed up the most free promos and has simply been there for all the years I have been published. This stuff isn’t an instant success (being an indie author) and finding that success takes time. In that time Open Evening has found reviews that have pushed it towards that apparent golden number of 50 – again is this something BookBub take into account? For the most part I’d like to think so but my super hero comedy The Teleporter was accepted by them twice with less than 20 ratings. Be in this for the duration, release books over time, enjoy the process, learn from it, let it make you a better author and then even when you are several books beyond that release you can still enjoy its success no matter when it arrives.

Timing

Just days before this featured deal my 8th book will drop, a book that shares the same series as Open Evening and now a sure fire launch campaign. The truth is, I have been waiting, waiting for the right time to promote this series as the last in the series was going to launch softly with me then figuring out the marketing after. Timing has changed that and it couldn’t more on point.

Seriousness

Even back when this was just sort of a hobby, I always took it seriously. Like when I used to perform in amdram, yes its amateur drama but the audience are still real and the money they paid me was very real and earned by them so therefore my effort was real. Treating this like a business for most parts has pushed me further and further to make business decisions and treat this whole thing like that. Even with the freedom and creativity that is writing a book as an indie, I take that seriously also and give it the highest level of respect. Stephen King and James Patterson are often featured by BookBub and without boasting or at least trying to, so is Lee Hall because he considers himself a writer too.

Learn

I am always taking on new information to shape what’s next. Just how does one secure a BookBub featured deal? You can apply all of the above and still possibly be nowhere near or they might say yes tomorrow because this journey is one of self learning and discovery. I can guarantee you will find some level of success if you remain open to learning from what have and have not achieved. This post isn’t the usual guide many will be used to, but I’m having a philosophical moment and those guides are great and all but writer Lee Hall is in the building right now and it is my wiring that has got me to this point.

Your writing can take you far also. Don’t give up.

Open Evening will be Free to download a little later this month through BookBub’s featured deal. Watch this space for more!

You shall find some practical advice on how to secure your own BookBub Featured Deal below. Sign up to my Patreon to listen and access all of my best guides.

Weekly Ramble #153

Reaching 35,000 Twitter followers is a hell of a milestone. To have that many people compelled to follow my efforts on a strange word party based platform carries a feeling that perhaps I have made it to some extent.

My secret is probably to never feel fully content and to always chase more. Good results foster even better results and on a platform like Twitter all you need is a little growth to tell you things are good and suddenly that growth can explode. It hasn’t been an easy journey and time has been the governing factor because there are no easy or quick fixes for me. People do often ask how but I would more look to why for the answer and that is because I never gave up.

Those who do keep going in creativity find rewards for their craft and in the social media world they also find others to stand beside. My following on here and across the platforms is heavily populated by fellow creatives who I’ll never consider my competition but my team mates. All of this is driven by a state of mind and a thinking that resonates with that attitude. Social media does have many pitfalls bit is also one hell of a beacon for many including me.

Just what is that beacon broadcasting? Hope, for those who can see within.

To those who do follow me on Twitter, over 35,000 of you, thank you.

1000 Blog Followers Special

Blogging has been a journey that’s served as probably the greatest companion and outlet for my creativity. This Hall of Information blog began life as a plunge into the unknown to create a presence and a home for my writing online. It pulled me along when nothing else did and eventually over some years it became the central pillar of everything Lee Hall.

This post is a short reflection on reaching 1000 WordPress followers which is a huge number for a WordPress blog and a powerful thing that has kept me inspired to simply keep going. Over some years I found my creativity, my consistency and of course my content through this blog and eventually it began to turn the needle for me. There are so many lessons I have learned over the years on this journey and this blog has been there for all of them.

Like many of my successful moments, they are defined simply by the fact I have just kept going, kept chasing and kept learning. Along the way I gained you, a loyal follower and reader, someone who answers back from the void that I was seemingly shouting into all these years – the secret ingredient to all of this. I am living proof that blogging can be a success if you work for it and part of this journey would be nothing without this Hall of Information blog – a hub and account of my journey told in real time. And time is what it takes for anything good in this world along with good people to help me, you.

There are a plethora of influences who have shaped my blogging success, from those who nominated it for awards to those who might just be silently reading without ever engaging with me – both and everyone in between is fine for me and no matter who you are, as long as you are kind, you are welcome at the Hall of Information. From the day in day outer’s who I see blogging everyday to the occasional creator, the interactions I have had over the years with all of you have given reason and meaning to this sometimes hard journey.

From then, now and to the future, thank you for supporting me. I have learned so much from what you have given me.

Reaching 30,000 Twitter Followers

Everyday I am on twitter. And over some years I’ve learned a lot about the platform as well as a lot about myself. Reaching 30,000 followers wasn’t a solo effort because like most social media platforms, success is mainly defined by those you interact with and others ultimately decide your success. In this post I am going to reflect on how I got to that number.

There was a time not too long ago where my tweets seemingly fell upon deaf ears. And back in April of 2020 my Twitter was nothing like it is now but then things started to gradually change. During a time of uncertainty I was granted probably the greatest gift you can give a writer; time. And looking back, I spent it figuring out the best possible way to turn my Twitter into something much more than it was. And to me, much like writing, Twitter is a journey of self discovery.

With 3,000 or so followers at that time and not a lot of engagement I dove in to the platform. Using some stuff I’d already realised about the platform’s potential and with some consistency, things began to change. It took time, it took effort and it took a boat load of constant trial and error. Everyone’s Twitter is different but the application of trial and error is something everyone can do pretty much everyday, even just for a few minutes.

From figuring out what time the majority of my following is online to see my tweets to simply learning that replying to those who reply to you is incredibly beneficial for visibility amongst so many vital lessons. The time I spent self-learning about this strange but wonderful conversation driven app started to churn out results. From book sales to blog views, from followers to friendships and even important contacts who would help me with BETA reading or even editing of future works.

I was talking and people from all over the world started listening whilst that following was gradually growing. By the end of 2020 I reached 5,000 followers and year later it was 20,000. All of this was driven by spending time and figuring out the value of being conversational. That’s all this is at the end of the day and for someone who finds dialogue a natural habitat – lets face it, most writers do. I eventually turned my Twitter into something truly worth having in my life.

Books were selling every 10 days in 2020 and today its near enough every few days which is also driven by mainly Twitter. My presence and persistence has paid off in so many ways, from building friendships to even having a purpose to those sales.

All of what I figured out gave me the best chance for others to ultimately decide my success, and if I could sum up everything I have done for people to decide my success on the platform it would simply be this:

For all the things you want to be on social media, just be kind. Kindness sticks out these days and good people will remember you for it.

To those who do follow me on Twitter, now over 30,000 of you, thank you. I’ll be recording a special celebration Twitter coaching session this week which will be free to listen to.

Below you’ll find some of my better resources for Twitter success.

Twitter Coaching Sessions – Pt 1 and 2 are Free to listen to. Sign up to listen to the rest.

Building an Algorithm of Trust – for better results on Twitter

Tips for Better Twitter Engagement

Nine Years on Twitter – What I’ve learned

Weekly Ramble #146

Just a few years back the concept of reaching 30,000 Twitter followers is something I would have laughed out loud at. Not anymore. And this journey has known zeros often but not today because I’ve reached that once impossible seeming milestone on the platform.

Of course and above all, this has not been a solo effort or journey. Much like all of my successes, they have been governed by others. And the help of others is what has pushed me to go further and dream bigger. I am nothing without the fantastic support of you and the now 30,000 followers who give me reason to keep going. This creative journey has been hard and every now and then it does bite me on the rear end but, the rewards are huge and this is a defining turning point.

But how? And what advice would I give to anyone looking to grow on social media as a creative? Just be open and do your best to build conversational bridges. My agenda has never really been to make money – I suppose that’s what has driven me to try and find something else and I have, conversation, support and consistency, they are just three of the many elements that make up the factors of my Twitter success. If you can offer something, someone out there will probably be motivated to take it. That and the sheer will to never ever give in, no matter what adversities I’ve faced internally and externally. Rewards come to those who work and keep going.

There is a hell of a lot more to come from me and you can expect a lot more content based on my Twitter experiences soon. For now, be sure to check out my Twitter Coaching Sessions here.

Thank you for the support!

Special Narration Presentation of Consistent Creative Content

‘Destiny can fall into our hands during the most unexpected of moments…’

In celebration of a year since Consistent Creative Content was released I have recorded a special narration presentation which is free to listen to. For this weekend, the book is also discounted in digital format with quite a substantial price reduction.

To everyone who has supported me and this book in the past year and of course beyond, thank you.

You can find this exclusive narration special here.

Books not selling? A Troubleshooter Guide

Sometimes it can feel like you have done everything you possibly can to try and market and sell your book which can be difficult, especially for those who are self-published or indie because most of us have to face marketing alone.

There probably is always something else to try when it comes to marketing books but the problem might be before that. This post is a troubleshooter that will hopefully lay out why a book might not be selling by focusing on the basics. It is taken from experience which for me is nearly 6 years of being indie published with 7 books that have all sold well. Let us dive in…

The Basic Anatomy

To me there are no real rules when it comes to books but over the years I have concluded that they need to be a certain standard or at least have basic anatomy to have a chance of selling. That anatomy can be seen as two separate entities. Firstly the visual basics:

An enticing book title that matches the genre;

Professionally designed cover that also matches the genre;

An enticing proof read blurb.

Most probably my favourite book cover…

And secondly, the internal basics:

Professional or some level of editing that is reasonably practicable;

Professional or some level of formatting that is reasonably practicable.

These five basic things are important to get right or as right as possible depending on budget but I would say if you want to publish a book well then you need to invest in the right services. These five basics will eventually hook at least one reader in to the point where they might be interested in buying. If you think your book has these things, then the reason it might not be selling could be a little more subjective, so let us look at some more subjective factors that factor in to selling books.

Partially Subjective Factors (visual)

A fair price;

Book Rating/Amount of reviews.

Pricing and reviews can be an enigma sometimes. Price too low and readers might not think the book has value, price too high and readers think you are just in this for a cash grab. To me, the price and the rating kind of go hand in hand with review quantity being the key here. If your book has over 100 reviews, the chances are it has sold well and proven it can sell well so you have scope to maybe price a little higher. This stuff has no real concrete answer as it is based upon the individual book and author but my suggestion would be to experiment regularly with pricing.

In terms of average rating, for books, again it can be quite subjective. My book The Teleporter dances between 3.8 and 4.0 stars on Amazon regularly and has only gone up in sales as the quantity of reviews has grown. The Teleporter is my most successful book by a large margin.

I would say as long as the basics are mostly there, these partially subjective factors won’t effect your sales too much unless they are at the extreme (really high or low priced) and I call them partially subjective because over time you can work to improve these things. Reviews coming in should make the sales situation better while you also figure out the perfect price, so what else is there to troubleshoot?

Social Media

This deserves a whole section because a majority of the time, the reason a book isn’t selling is mainly due to visibility or lack of, so you have to ask yourself the question: what are you doing to sell your book on social media? Or sometimes what are you doing not to sell your book on social media?

Conduct

Being on social media and being published places you in the glass house that is the public domain. So now it is time to think about what we say and do at all times. Everything you say online; good or bad, positive or negative will most likely be seen by your following and may effect your sales – for those on Twitter, the majority of followers will see an argumentative response – this stuff tends to be overlooked and of course freedom of speech is something I fully support but my advice would be to keep things light on social media.

What can you do to sell books on social media?

The good thing about social media is that it is busy. Things move quickly and so its important to remind your following and the wider platform users that your book exists. You could just drop a link everyday but that will probably be buried by the social media platforms as they would prefer to keep you and users right there so its time use a little variety.

These seven things are a week’s worth if you spread them out because variety is key on social media- keep it light, conversational and occasionally about your work. Click on my tweet to see seven more ideas. As you can see, all of these things don’t mention dropping a link, if you can, put your book link in your bio or somewhere easy to find – algorithms on most platforms tend to suppress links sometimes.

My biggest tip about selling books on social media is to focus on convincing people to invest in you first. If they enjoy your content such as good conversation or even a little positivity that will go a long way towards selling. Consider social media platforms your stage and your books are available out in the gift shop.

It takes some effort and time to build a social media presence so what else can you do to sell books?

Check out my coaching sessions for more inputs on selling via Twitter

Quick-fire short term and long term Miscellaneous troubleshooting

(Lot’s of Things to consider)

Have you thought about advertising?

If so is it paid?

If so, is it with a reputable advertiser?

Have you thought about a temporary price reduction?

Is it just for a limited time? (this works well)

If so, have you informed your social media following?

Are you consistently present on social media? (this helps)

Are you supportive of others in the industry? (this helps build trust and trust helps sell)

Do you have multiple books available? (this helps)

Do you have stand alone and series books available? (this really helps)

Have you really considered whether your book really has the basic anatomy?

The final troubleshooting question is in red because if you have tried all of the above without a single sale then it is probably something before such as the basic anatomy or even social media conduct. Understandably Rome was not built in a day but eventually if you follow the advice in this post you will sell at least one book, I am 99% confident of that. Now this is all subjective which is my favourite word when it comes to publishing anything and means nothing is guaranteed.

The majority of my guides are received mainly by beginner or debut authors and so I will say this whole deal gets better over time. One slow release doesn’t seal your fate in publishing and especially after just one release. If you really want your book to be read you need to get yourself out there and more importantly create new content. This journey got way better for me after 5 or so releases and even then the results were slow. Regular blogging and social media posting drives my sales and this isn’t my day job but I treat it like one. Today I sell books roughly every other day and that is driven by the fact I have kept going.

Concluding Points

To conclude in as simple terms as possible, your book will most likely sell if:

It has the basic anatomy visually (pro cover, enticing title and blurb);

It has the basic anatomy internally (editing and formatting);

You have a decent conduct and regular presence on social media;

You try as many ways as possible to market yourself and that book.

Keep going, keep writing and don’t give up. Someday someone will read your work and it could change their life!

Thank you for reading, there were plenty of opportunities above to include links to my various free-to-read guides but I would prefer to leave them below so it does not interrupt the flow of this guide, so here they are:

A Guide to Selling Books on Social Media

The Twitter Campfire Analogy

Book Reviews: Some Quick Tips

A concise list of Book Promotion Websites

And finally, you’ll find the Basic Anatomy of a Book mentioned in detail via my author/blogger guide book Consistent Creative Content which is a concise, one-stop-shop for everything I have learned in publishing: