Weekly Ramble #145

Thank you to those who signed up to my Patreon over the weekend! For all my social media posting and effort I wasn’t sure if anyone knew about my latest venture of Twitter coaching. Social media can be hard sometimes, especially when you want to yell from the high hills about something but the algorithms and platforms tend to work in mysterious ways.

I am recording again today – another coaching session which will drop this week and will be exclusive to Patrons. Of course those who do sign up will receive regular shout outs on Twitter as well as access to a growing catalogue of exclusive content. Having something to offer regularly is the key to success on social media and whilst it can be difficult to be heard, those who do keep going will find ways to be heard. I am proof of that and even though my numbers aren’t huge, they are enough for me.

This month is the anniversary of Consistent Creative Content and soon you can expect some cool promotional things.

Have a great week!

Awesome Recommended Indie Reads 7

I’ve been reading and reviewing indie books again so its time to take a look at some recent titles that I thought were awesome…

‘Powerless’ by Vicky Ball

A well-written twisting thriller with darker themes…

Full Review

‘Lazy Creativity: The Art of Owning Your Creativity’ by Kyle Bernier

A detailed, modern and refreshing take on creativity that covers so many applications for success!

Full Review

‘An English Teacher in Mexico: Memories of a Midlife Career Change’ by Irene Pylypec

A fun and insightful well-written account of adventure and culture…

Full Review

Join Lee Hall on Patreon

Those who do join my Patreon will get regular shout-outs on my Twitter for you and your work in front of my near 30,000 followers. Plus you’ll get exclusive access to my growing series of Twitter Coaching Sessions, future guides and fiction.

‘SKINNER: Thirty-five years. Four killers. One city’ by Nathan Jones 

Immersive near future sci-fi meets the macabre…

Full Review

‘The Tolworth Beacon’ by Huw Langridge

Intriguing British mystery with tension, atmosphere and code-breaking vibes…

Full Review

‘Recovering Alice’ by Catherine Morrison

A gripping uplifting tale of romance and relapse…

Full Review

And so that wraps up another edition of Awesome Recommended Indie Reads! Thanks for stopping by!

Twitter Coaching Sessions – Coming Next Week

And so a new venture emerges with the aim to help fellow Twitter users navigate their way to success. This month I have been busy recording an exclusive series of audio sessions all about my journey on Twitter and now I am ready to share it with the world! That is of course after getting over the fact I am not a fan of hearing my own voice recorded…

Next week I shall be releasing the first four sessions over on Patreon while Session’s 1 and 2 will be free to listen. The first two sessions are over thirty minutes and my aim is to then release everything else exclusively to Patrons who sign up for less than $2 a month. So just what will these audio sessions be about?

Having spent nearly 10 years on Twitter I’ve learned a lot about the platform, from what to tweet about to what makes a perfect profile to even more technical stuff like selling books regularly and constantly increasing my following. In January of 2021 I had around 5,000 followers and today it is nearly 30,000. Back then I would sell a book through Twitter every 10 or so days and now I sell a book nearly every other day. My aim is to pass on all of my wisdom exclusively to Patrons and this series of coaching will consist of multiple sessions covering pretty much everything I know to find success as an author and content creator online.

It has taken me many years to figure out social media marketing and these sessions will equip you with the best possible chance in hopefully way less time it took me.

Promoting this new venture is going to be quite a journey especially on the social media platforms that will probably try to hide much of my advertising efforts but I’ve got this far so I am ready!

You can find my Patreon here where there are a few guides and some fiction currently available to read.

Relaunching Patreon

I’m bringing back my Patreon. Those who have been around since last year might remember that I took the plunge into starting one and now I’m ready to return to it. My initial vision to start a Patreon was simply an experiment and now with everything I have learned, I’m diving back in.

So just what am I offering on Patreon and what is Patreon? Good questions and simply Patreon is a subscription based platform where creatives can earn an income for their work. There will always be those who roll their eyes or turn their noses up at the concept of creatives making money and I’m not doing it for that but simply because my guides have value – you won’t be able to find what I have on offer anywhere else. I used my Patreon to release author/social media guides and a little fiction, some of it was free to read while others are behind an affordable pay wall of just over £1/$1. That content is still available including a whole book.

Time constraints and the fact my social media following was a lot less back then kind of forced me to re-think and put together a brand new strategy for how my Patreon would offer the very best in guides for fellow indie authors at an exclusive level. Now my Patreon will feature guides and specific coaching based content that will be found nowhere else. Very soon I am going to release a series of audio based guides that will provide detailed coaching on Twitter for creatives – a subject I know a lot about. From selling books/content regularly to reaching more followers, I’ve learned a bunch which I will exclusively pass on to Patrons. Those who do sign up will get regular shout-outs on my Twitter in front of 27,000+ followers and will also have access to all future content on Patreon.

I don’t see this as a cash grab as my subscription fee is very affordable but I do see my work as valuable to those who need it. I’ve spent many years working to this point and above all, I am incredibly excited to help fellow authors and creatives.

Right now I am working on updating my Patreon page, but here’s the link if you wanted to take a look. You can read some guides and the entire novel ‘Last Outlaw’ a book that I will probably publish next year.

You can expect to hear more soon!

Book Promotion Results – September 2021

I’ve been promoting my books again and for the first time I had seven to play with. It is my belief that the more books an author has, the more promotional things one can do with them.

September 2021 served as a milestone month for me as it is five years since my words first graced publication. It is also a crucial month for many of my books as their genres tend to pick up around this time of year and look at that – a promo tip in the damn intro, horror, thriller, occult, spooky, ghosts, gothic – all of these start selling rather well from Labor Day onwards – that’s a public holiday weekend over in the US and for me the spiritual beginning of spooky season.

Like all of my previous book promo posts this will look into my plan, my results, how I got them and of course the most important part of any book promo – the longer term results. That’s part of the reason why this post has only just dropped, exclusively first on Patreon and then to the awesome followers on my blog. Let us dive in!

Aim/Objective/Expectation

In any type of promo run its good to set out an overall aim while also setting a realistic or at least an achievable expectation but first of all and for beginners, what do I mean by promo run?

To me a book promotion run is when I advertise my books in order to sell them over a short amount of specific time. There are many inputs and ways to promote books and my process consists of paying for some advertisement every quarter or so while also reducing my prices to hook in new readers for just a few days. This quarterly or so method keeps sales from completely tanking to zero and while I am continually active on social media, newer readers are in theory always arriving onto my authory shores. I tend to sell books regularly via social media or mostly Twitter but not in huge numbers so I like a nice burst of sales every four or so months.

So on this occasion I would be running two price promotions simultaneously.

  1. The e version of my debut high school creature feature horror ‘Open Evening’ would be Free to download celebrating five years since publication, for one day.
  2. And the rest of my e books (6 others in total) would be reduced to 99 cents or equivalent for the whole of Labor Day weekend. In this category there are some books which are stand alone and others that are connected to ‘Open Evening’. Most of which are spooky season appropriate or popular all-year-round sellers.
The first copy of Open Evening has aged less than the author…

Promo tip: Setting one book for free and advertising it will bring eyes onto all other books if you have any. Time and time again I have sold other books on my shelf while another was free. Discounting these titles pretty much guarantees some interest.

My overall aim was to sell as many books as possible to try and make an effort towards paying for the advertising I was going to use.

The Results Pt.1

The results of an effective book promotion run will last for days after the initial advertising dates but Pt.1 will look into the results of the first few days. So first of all let us look at the total.

As you can see the blue bar represents the free downloads for ‘Open Evening’ which managed 377 in one day across 6 different territories.

So that day broke a new record for me personally. This is the first time all 7 of my books were downloaded in 24 hours and every other book on my shelf although discounted made paid sales on the next day also.

Paid sales for Labor Day weekend are as follows below with my newest release and self help authoring and blogging guide book ‘Consistent Creative Content’ being the top seller followed by ‘Darke Awakening’ my newest release after ‘CCC’.

131 Paid sales makes September 2021 the 2nd greatest month of all time for sales. The 1st being April 2021 – you can read how I got those numbers here.

Let us briefly look at some chart movement which is an often overlooked part of these promo runs because good chart movement equals more visibility from passing trade.

Seeing as it was my top seller of the weekend ‘CCC’ made the best progress by hitting #10 in the Amazon US Writing Skill Reference chart which is a huge achievement because this chart is super competitive. I’m talking authors who do TedTalk’s normally head up the top spots.

Overall. I was happy with the sales of this weekend which led into several days after of sales which we will look into soon. But first let me break down what I did to get these numbers.

Methods of Promotion

My biggest tip when it comes to advertising books is to invest money. If you want serious results then you need to advertise seriously by spending. This is probably why I do this every four or so months. These days, I let my royalties accumulate and put them into advertising. It is also worth noting that being an indie author isn’t my primary source of income so I can afford to make losses financially with these promos – but to me there are no losses, just opportunity to find more readers and gain more traction as an author in the market – that’s what I’m really paying for.

Here are the book promotion sites/services I paid for:

Open Evening‘ – Free Booksy Horror Series Promotion. Cost $65 and this gives you an option to link all 4 books in the series which I did.

Consistent Creative Content

Bargain Booksy 99 cents Promotion. Cost $30.

Bookrunes. Cost $25

The Teleporter

E Reader News Today – Humour Category. Cost $45.

Book Doggy. Cost £20

Total Advertising Cost: $185

As you can see my budget focused on evenly spreading the advertising. I could have run ads for every individual book but these three at the time were my most popular.

What else did I do?

Of course advertising via book promo sites is just part of my efforts. I also put out a blog post on here and various tweets throughout the weekend sharing various visual things. My Twitter following is over 15k which is a big opportunity for book sales. For those visual things I used these book banners in particular:

Book Banners are relatively easy to put together – I make my own using free stock imagers and Pixlr. Banners add just that little extra dimension to the visual appeal that may grab a potential readers attention.

The Books in my Order of the Following Series also have their own series page on Amazon – this helps for whole series visibility especially when one of the book in that series is free and the others are discounted.

Random Promo Tips:

Most book promo sites will ask you to include a brief description of the book that isn’t just the blurb. This is an opportunity to get creative and even mention that it could be a part of a series or that the rest of your works are currently discounted.

On social media think about terminology such as ‘For Today Only’ or ‘Exclusive Discount’. Stuff that embraces the gimmick of selling and stirs impulse. I always run a promo for just a few days to add a sense or urgency. Although Amazon will let you run a free promo for up to 5 days, 2 is enough.

Weekends tend to work really well post pandemic and so I like to include at least a Saturday as there is way more traffic online.

Existing reviews for a book really help sell more books – this is part of the reason why you see me put out a weekly Tweet saying how important reviews are. Most of my books have at least 15 reviews. This helps, big time!

The more books you have, the better things should be. Having just one or two books is much more of a challenge as readers tend to gravitate towards authors with more releases so get writing those books. This deal gets better with time.

The Results Pt2

Now it may seem like a paid quite a large sum to pay for some advertisement but all promo runs aren’t just about sales. Let us take a look at the most important part of a promo run – the aftermath…

From the 2 days before the promo and to the 8 days that followed I had at least 1 paid sale. This is 10 consecutive days of paid sales and new record. As you can see the rest of the month sales of the paid persuasion trickled in. Now if we compare it to the month previous…

The coloured bars may seem bigger but the numbers are drastically smaller for that month previous and this is just one of the things I am paying for with this promotion – extended visibility which in turn drives so much more.

September 2021 almost became another $100 royalty month and its not quite covered the cost of the promo but still a good portion of it has been recovered. Now let’s take a look at the wider scope in terms of royalties…

This 90 day graphic looks a little more promising but sales is not all that I am paying for because there is something else these promos drive and they are gold dust to authors and maybe worth more than a lot of money.

Reviews started appearing a few weeks after the promotional run, in fact 8 ratings for several different books came from this promo run which is a new monthly record and confirmation that this money investment was very much worthwhile. You can read a breakdown of the other reviews here.

Final Thoughts

Making money, getting more reviews, and sales takes time to master in the world of book promotion and this post is only just a snippet of years worth of work I have put in to figure all this out, that is without mentioning the work that goes into writing more books but, there is hope because this post above all shows that indie authors can sell their work and make money from it.

To me, book promotion runs are just a portion of what I do, perhaps even a small slice of a much larger cake that includes social media presence, blogging, reviewing other authors books and being a brand. There is always some work to be done in order to sell my brand and my works and remember that the more social you are on social media, the more someone will notice and eventually invest in you. Build trust and engage with others, that sells more than anything. Thanks for reading and peace out!

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

Last Outlaw: A Western Sci-Fi Horror – Read Part 1 for Free

The once reputable profession of being an outlaw is dying with the times. I ain’t the type to use words of the finer persuasion but I know what’s what in this world and these times are getting harder by the day. Folks like me have got to work to survive. That’s all this is, taking from the lesser man or woman to live. Some call it crime, but I call it opportunity and there are all types of people who are struggling to fit in with this now civilised society including me.

First I watch, and if that opportunity comes then I take. Only after half a shot of whisky is it apparent to see the saloon I was sitting in weren’t anywhere near the normal standards. The people around me, all of them seemed on edge. I’ve been a newcomer in a thousand small towns but this one had something sinister hiding in plain sight, I could feel it…

Read the rest of Part 1 for Free via Patreon here.

Patrons will be able to read the rest as it releases each week.

Weekly Ramble #119

Last week saw my Twitter hit the 13k follower mark and I was so busy with content that I had no time to take a moment and let it sink in. Of course we are already moving towards 14k and things just seem to be going from clay to stone on the platform for me.

I seem to have figured things out over on the Tweet machine and just this year it has become an exceptionally powerful tool for my author blogger endeavours, Not only do I regularly sell books on there but I also bring that following over here to read the various articles and guides I write. Now I have even managed to leverage that awesome following over onto Patreon. Over the weekend I secured my first Patron – a fellow author who will get their own feature on here soon and that is just one of the many incentives you’ll get if you join. Others include a free book and social media shout outs to that 13k following.

This week my first fictional Patreon post will premiere in the form of a western sci fi horror I am currently querying. The first part will be Free to read and then Patrons will have exclusive access to the further instalments planned this month and next. Of course this new venture has started slowly but I am hopeful it will eventually be a success not only for me but for other authors who decide to support me. As I said there will be rewards, incentives and plenty of guides coming so watch this space like a hawk!

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

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

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

Part One will be FREE to read.

You can read more about Lee Hall’s Patreon here