Let’s talk about… The Struggle for Reviews

And we thought selling our books to people who would actually pay money was hard. If that was the big victory then getting them to leave a review after is a whole different challenge so let’s talk about that struggle.

This post is partly inspired by a message I received over on Twitter from a fellow author struggling to get more reviews for their work. Of course, like all authors who approach me in need I did my best to provide some advice that is both practical and thought based.

I’m going to break down in detail the whole deal of that struggle to get reviews with a little overview, some story telling, some solutions and even tips on how to get more.

Initial Overview

I’ll admit now that there are no real quick fixes, like anything in writing, my advice is subjective but let’s all agree first and foremost that finding reviews is really really difficult. Over the years and through much struggle I’ve concluded that the reason why it is so difficult is because the average reader never thinks to leave a review. Back when I used to read Crichton or King novels way before being published, never once did it cross my mind that they needed my review and they probably didn’t on an individual level.

But now, we stand in a shiny new era of publishing and this new-ish social media self published indie generation have only really just emerged in the past few years (a decade at best), that is of course only a slice of the author pie as I would like to acknowledge anyone else published through traditional or smaller presses. Our struggle is the same, but only recently has it become so apparent because a lot more folks are self publishing and the spotlight from social media makes everything way more heightened.

Readers just not thinking to leave reviews is both logical and hopefully reassuring to you and that’s what this post is designed to be, an objective viewpoint to hopefully reassure and help. So, how do we deal with this struggle for reviews. We’ll get to the logical/practical soon but first comes the story which aims to reassure…

Read the rest here

‘The Genius’ Guide to Bad Writing’ by R.T. Slaywood and R.C. Martinez – Review

A refreshing outlook on writing and publishing that’ll make you smile…

From the very start I had a smile on my face while reading this short but fun guide designed for writers who are ‘plagued by success’. The whole subject of art and creativity is too serious and rigid for the most part and this book breaks down that barrier while also being fun. Already from the reviews emerging I can see it is bringing fellow creatives closer which can only benefit others.

To have this kind of approach to an industry that continuously slams the door in the face of many brilliant creatives it’s refreshing and fun to see it being perceived this way. I loved the interactions between the authors in every part that told its own side story while also being very relatable.

Take a few moments to read this book and bask in the enjoyment of two writers who have earned my respect for their refreshing and comedic outlook on the craft because good comedy is rare and this type of comedy is my favourite. You’ll probably learn and thing or two also. While some might not know how to handle this type of reading, the best thing you can do is embrace it because it’s enjoyable and between those lines and in this book is a lot of truth.

5,000 Stars – Saw this on Twitter the other day and thought I’d check it out! Well worth a read!

Book Reviews: Some Quick Tips

The struggle for book reviews is real and while I put together a much longer guide about that struggle here are some quick tips to get more of them and how to deal with said struggle…

Leave a message in the front and back of your book to tell readers that reviews are important – this is obvious but sometimes overlooked. Many readers including me once upon a time never thought of leaving a review for a book. Remind your audience.

Fill that gap elsewhere by reviewing other authors works. You probably know how it feels to struggle for reviews so helping the industry will eventually help you. Plus reading, that’s supposed to fun right? But seriously, if you do help a few authors they might be inclined to return the favour but don’t expect it. Above all you’ll earn some trust and maybe even make a friend or two. Book reviews are partly the reason for my social media success.

Think about some book promotion or advertising because a lack of reviews is probably due to low distribution/visibility/sales. Theory would suggest that more sales equals more reviews… There are a stack of ways to advertise your book and I tend to use book promo sites every so often. The higher end sites also have higher end readers who review. More about those sites here

Shout about it in a few different ways because communication is key just like the first tip. On social media talk about the importance of reviews and then when you do get a good review share it and say how much you appreciate it. Make a thread on Twitter or put a review billboard together like this one…

Give incentives to reviewers because sweets for the sweet… from sending a reviewer a signed book to saying thanks to even giving them a shout-out or putting their review quote on the cover of a future release – these things provide some incentive for reviewers to share their thoughts.

Organise a pre-release and offer copies of your book to readers on the condition they review it on publication. If your self-published this will be easier, but basically offer your final manuscript to readers to review it early.

Try to compartmentalise the feeling of that struggle because it will never really go away and take it from me, my comedy ‘The Teleporter’ has over 130 reviews and I’m always wanting more because the chase is endless. I also have seven books published so if I spent every hour of every day worrying about the struggle I would get nowhere. My advice is to work on other things. Write that next book or blog post. Be busy and it won’t even cross your mind because that struggle is a state of mind.

Appreciate that it is really hard not just for you but for everyone published because it really is hard to get reviews. My debut book that dropped back in 2016 has 34 reviews and has sold thousands of copies. You are not alone.

Approach a book blogger because many of them are always looking for something new to read. Of course check out their blog and see if your work fits within their taste. Try to be personable in your approach. As a standard, offer a book blogger a free e copy for that review and be sure to read their submissions policy if they have one.

Talk about it with other authors because my Twitter DM’s, comments section on here and my Patreon are always open for any author in need. Reach out to one another because together our struggles are smaller, especially when we talk about it.

Time, above all is your friend here. Good things in writing take time and reviews take a lot of time to collect for a book which will be around a lot longer than all of us. Remember that. Most of these tips are long game style methods. Be in it for that journey.

Thanks for reading, this post is just a preview of another I have planned soon over on my Patreon which is my latest venture and a place where I intend to help more authors with coaching and future guides. If you sign up to one of my tiers you’ll get a free copy of my self help book Consistent Creative Content which has a whole section dedicated to reviews. Peace out, rock and roll man!

Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age by Lee Hall

Thank you to fellow awesome blogger Clemence for this wonderful review of Consistent Creative Content…

Dreamed Worlds

Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age

Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age by Lee Hall

Genre:Writing, Non-Fiction.
Pages: 135
Publisher:Lee Hall
Rating:4.50 stars (Goodreads)

Summary:

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…

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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.

Out Now: Consistent Creative Content by Lee Hall

We are finally here after what feels like one heck of a journey paved by the incredible support of this blog’s wonderful following and wider social media support. Everything I have learned to get to this point has been laid out in a book which I hope helps change the way indie creatives and bloggers are seen.

Our works and our words are valid. Our creativity deserves to stand shoulder to shoulder with every other generation of creatives in history. This is my labour of love to the wider writing community and to everyone ever thinking of picking up a pen to create.

What I have laid out, I hope serves someone as a guiding light into the unknown to find success. It is my belief that helping others, will make the writing industry better for the greater good and this is the book that I am going to use to do that. It has been a long but overall rewarding journey to see this book being so well received, especially so with the perfect pre-order run – thank you everyone.

This is Consistent Creative Content: A guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age. Out now!

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Amazon Aus

Amazon Canada

Amazon India

Or just type this into your regional Amazon: B094DXFK2N

Official Cover Reveal of ‘Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age’ by Lee Hall

Lee’s Hall of Information is proud to present the official cover reveal of Book 7: Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age.

This book lays out everything I have learned from being in the trenches of indie publishing and blogging for several years. This is my labour of love to the writing community who have always supported me and now it is time to share the story of how I found my own writing destiny while also including a stack of resources that covers publishing, marketing, selling, promotion, reviews, social media and of course blogging.

From beginners to more experienced wordsmiths, this guide is designed for anyone looking for inspiration and ideas to find success in the social media age.

We can all agree the cover looks spectacular! A huge thank you to the awesome Design for Writers for putting together an exceptional looking cover but that’s not all… scroll on down for an extra surprise…

Consistent Creative Content is officially available for pre-order right now and at a discounted price of $2.99 – this price will rise upon release to $3.99 so pre-ordering it now is a no-brainer.

Links are below and to everyone who has helped me on this journey, thank you. The official release day is May 20th.

If you want a flavour of what to expect in this book then do check out my resources section full of guides for social media, book promotion and blogging. Rock and roll man!

US Link

UK Link

Canada Link

Aus Link

India Link

(Other territories just type in ‘Consistent Creative Content lee hall’ into the search bar)

Building an Algorithm of Trust – How To Get Better Results On Twitter

As of January 2021 192 million people use Twitter. That’s an opportunity to connect and engage with a lot of people. Opportunity is probably the best way to describe the platform which is basically a word popularity contest with the focus on connecting through those words to create meaningful relationships with others.

From my own experience, if you are on Twitter to simply sell something, you might struggle to get any type of decent results. But how do you get better results at Twitter? There is no short answer but this guide will explore and try to answer that question…

Statistic reference via: Oberlo.co.uk

Time and Consistency with Perspective

It has taken me since 2013 and at least one absence from Twitter to finally get any level of high engagement on the platform, but let’s be real here with some grounded perspective. Any number of likes, retweets, comments or follows is good engagement no matter who you are. One or two likes for a tweet is a success in my eyes and anything more is very good. Twitter has a specific psychology that requires some time to figure out.

There is no specific way to measure how long it takes to figure out, some grasp it quicker than others but getting better results will mostly be governed by time and consistency – showing up regularly over a length of time.

For absolute beginners perhaps tweeting ten times a day is too much to start with. Take it steady and let people get used to you being there. Tweet a few things every day, comment on other tweets from folks you follow – show genuine interest but don’t be too enthusiastic or pushy, stay cool and patient.

What should you be tweeting about? We’ll get to that soon but first we need to understand how the tweet machine works and it is very much a machine in my eyes.

Algorithms

I’m not really qualified to say how the underbelly of Twitter works and Google knows the specifics. There are those who regularly mention a thing called algorithms which as far as I understand is a computer based pattern learning thing. Theory is, if you are consistent on twitter it will eventually work in your favour and push those tweets of yours to more followers. My learning comes from experience and all you have to do is go on over to my profile and see how many wonderful followers engage with my tweets regularly.

It took time and consistency to reach that level. There is another algorithm that isn’t computer or tech based and it is also known as trust. Over many years my followers have come to trust me through the content I post and when someone trusts me they are invested in me. If someone invests in you personally they will eventually buy your product or service out of loyalty. I have zero expectation or even an agenda to sell to people in this way, it just happens naturally and mainly through presence (being present, not personality, I don’t have any of that…)

For example take a household cleaning product you buy on a regular basis. You keep buying more because you trust it does the job you expect it to. That’s brand loyalty and that can be achieved on Twitter also.

But what should you shout into that void to earn that algorithm of trust?

It may seem like you are simply shouting those words into a void and it will feel that way for some time but eventually that void will answer if you keep going. Too many folks give up on twitter too quickly. Going from zero to millions of followers isn’t going to happen quickly but you don’t need a huge following to get results. I’ve seen hundreds of authors come and go from Twitter because they feel like they are getting nothing from the platform. Translation: They are not selling any books for the effort they put in. But to me that’s not the idea of being on Twitter for the most part.

I don’t know who said having a Twitter account alone will sell books or sell anything but that seems to be the consensus for some. Of course not everyone thinks this is the case but if you’re an author who gets a lot of Twitter engagement I can near enough guarantee it’s because you tweet less about your work and more about other things which provide value to others. Remember, Twitter users want to invest in you as a person way before they consider buying something from you. I call this the art of indirect selling – your genuine engagement and socialising on Twitter results in sales even if you weren’t even aiming to sell.

So what are these other things?  

Personally and from experience there is a huge range of content ideas for twitter but as long as it informs, inspires or has value then you are going to get something back – that is broad but also a fantastic opportunity to be creative. I tend to stay away from anything heavily political or even something that divides opinions – there are just other fun things to tweet about and it should be fun.

Sharing links tends to get less engagement as Twitter wants you and others to stay on the platform. My top tip: Drop that link in the comments below your tweet or leave it in your bio instead.

Images and visual stuff is great. From memes to a selfie. Did I mention a real picture of a real person goes a long way?

Sharing positive things is always going to get a good level of engagement. I can’t really remember many authors in the past sharing their sales statistics but I do and because I have a large audience of authors, it gives them hope that they can achieve the same. Give someone hope and you’ll earn their trust – we’re back to that algorithm again but sharing successful moments is inspiring to many others.

Helping someone in any way will always result in positive engagement. For the last three years I have read and reviewed over a hundred Indie Published Books. I support the industry and try to help a fellow wordsmith, there’s nothing more genuine than helping those around you just because I know their struggle. I shout about helping people because eventually it will probably make the literary industry better – a big ambition but achievable over time.

Commenting on other users tweets will push up your algorithm (the actual computer one, if it exists) and spread your presence wider to more people.

Hashtags should never be overlooked. I tend to include one or two in every tweet.

Play the long game. There aren’t many quick fixes. Doing the work will work eventually.

Above all being a person and not a link or book link sharing machine on Twitter will get you better results eventually.

You have to build your own…

Over time with consistency and patience you’ll eventually build your own algorithm of trust. Much of what I say may sound easier said than done but I have done it and achieved it. I’m selling a lot more books now through Twitter even though my focus has been more on getting a bigger following and just enjoying the ride while learning from others.

The campfire Analogy…

This has been a kind of Ted Talk but I want to finish with an analogy that I hope anyone on Twitter or thinking of joining the platform can understand…

So you’ve set up a small campfire on the edge of some woods (you’ve created a Twitter profile).

This nice spot is adjacent to a path, that path is then connected to a much wider path where people walk, jog, cycle and appear along frequently. (Basically the wider twitter community, no specific demographics)

You begin to talk to yourself while the small fire crackles away. There is a little warmth but other than the low hum of your quiet voice it’s pretty desolate.

You then talk a little louder (your tweets are specific to your interests, if you’re an author you use the writing community hashtag).

It might feel like you are talking to yourself but that busy path is ever so near. (it feels like you are talking to yourself. This is normal for a while)

A little time passes and someone along that wider path hears you talking (the hashtags amplified that voice of yours).

This person then moves onto the path adjacent to that campfire of yours, (you’ve attracted the attention of a specific demographic you’ve got something in common with).

You talk to this person as they have just replied to you. (they commented on your tweet). It was a brief but a pleasant exchange. This passer by then decides to come off that path and sit at your campfire (congratulations, you’ve just earned a follower).

Because this follower responded to something you said, you now tweet more about the subject you exchanged engagement with. You also talk directly to them (you follow them back).

Other passers-by begin to hear this follower talking to you and some at the very least stroll past the campfire. This one follower has sat at a few campfires before and those who he sat with can see the engagement you are having, (mutual followers of that first follower see your tweets in their feed).

You keep talking and exchange engagements. Some of these mutual followers have now walked by and sit at your camp fire. You talk to them also (follow each other). These folks even bring their own logs and the fire grows in brightness and warmth (more engagements happen, subjects range).

More folks who have been to other campfires see your campfire is a two way conversation and come to sit by it. (Your following steadily increases because you are talking and including them and you are present consistently over time).

The subjects you talk about are interesting and engaging. More passers-by join the congregating people already by your now roaring fire. You’re going to need more seating soon but you keep talking because these passers-by have become important connections. They have invested in you and trust you because your word is good and honest which started literally with you talking to a campfire. How do you know what to talk about everyday – you get better at this the more you do it. It even feels warm inside…

Some of these passers by now want more from you and so they see you have a product or service available that they know will be trust worthy or will at least provide something which will make them feel good, (You’ve grown your own algorithm of trust over time, as an author or content creator these followers buy from you).

You share with these fellow camp fire members how you got to this point. They eventually take on some of what you have learned and in their spare time they go and start their own campfires and the cycle continues, (you see others being successful at twitter also, they didn’t give up and kept talking also).

Although this is a specific analogy in a perfect scenario, it highlights the importance of being social no matter where you start.

Thank you reading what is a lengthy and quite detailed post. Hopefully it is useful and if you like this there are plenty more guides over in the resources section. I also have a self help guide book that is currently available on discounted pre-order. Link below via the awesome book cover, check it out! Peace out, rock and roll man!

Essential Self-Help Book Rec’s for Authors

Sometimes consulting the Google isn’t enough and my top advice for anyone looking to learn a new skill or to even hone their current ability in anything is to pick up a book about it. The non-fiction market is huge and also packed with some very handy guides about the intricacies of authoring and publishing.

This is my 600th Blog post and it is dedicated to showcasing the best self-help books I’ve read over the years, from the one that inspired this blog to Amazon algorithm optimization all the way to a part memoir packed with awesome practical writing tips; these are essential self-help book recommendations for authors…

‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’ – Stephen King

Okay, were starting with a relatively high bar and even for those who say they have never read anything by possibly America’s greatest storyteller (near enough everyone it seems) you’ll find something worthwhile in this book. Even though it’s relatively short for a Stephen King title this memoir takes us through his early days all the way to finding success as an author. We even hear about his near fatal accident – thank the Lord he survived! The focus is on his journey while every so often giving hints and tips throughout – some are even basic practicalities like where you should situate a writing desk! What I enjoyed the most about this book is the clear admiration King has for the craft and writing style while also mentioning other authors. For anyone at any level in writing this book is essential trust me!

‘How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market’ by Ricardo Fayet

If you want to seriously earn money in authoring then this is the guide for you. It literally shows you the calculations on how you can convert a hobby into a potential career through the right marketing channels. Recently reviewed on here and for Reedsy Discovery this book is basically an extensive extension of Reedsy’s guides and blog posts that dive into everything you need to know about selling books and where to do it. From ‘going wide’ to Amazon chart optimization all the way to having readers find you. This recent release is essential if you are serious about writing as a career.

‘Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing’ By Catherine Ryan Howard

There aren’t many that know the Hall of Information blog was inspired by this book which I read way back in 2014. After a hugely successful career as an indie author, Catherine Ryan Howard has sort of become the benchmark for me in terms of success. She even secured a six figure publishing deal and the wonderful thing is her career started as an indie author. ‘Self ‘Printed’ is now into it’s third edition and because of the wonderful advice within that led me here it deserves a mention! You’ll find specific guides on how to format and publish books via Amazon all the way to selling, of course this is accompanied by a fun style of delivery – just read the blurb and you’ll know. To me it’s essential and something I even go back to every so often.

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

Another Reedsy Discovery find and it’s an incredible eye opening resource for those published via Amazon – most reading this are and this book homes in on the power of Amazon’s search bar/key word optimization. This is just the tip of a big iceberg that deep dives into how the world’s biggest book retailer functions. The easy to understand writing style explains Amazon and that finding readers is just like having a conversation with an old friend you’ve got a lot in common with – trust me, Dale explains it way better… My verdict after reading this one is that I’m not using Amazon correctly and the knowledge I gained was essential and applied straight away! Here’s my review.

The wonderful thing about the writing industry is that no matter what level you are there will always be someone looking to support you. All of the authors above do just that and so if you are in doubt, you are never far away from a fellow scholar looking to share some much needed clarity and advice.

And so that wraps up my essential list of self-help books for Authors. If you’re looking for some further reading and a few more author resources then check out my own section dedicated to such. Let me know in the comments if you have any self-help book rec’s for authors.

Pre-order now!

It might be a tad indulgent to include my own title in this post but I also have a self help book for authors and bloggers and you can now pre-order it for a discounted price.