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.

How I landed a deal with Bookbub!

Looking back at how I somehow landed a featured deal with prestigious book promo site Bookbub – you never know if you don’t try…

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As an author you probably don’t have to go far from the Google to find out what Bookbub is. For those not in the know, Bookbub is referred to as the ‘holy grail’ of book promotion sites and even more so for readers because it’s probably the most prestigious book connector site out there. And what’s even better is that they near enough guran-damn-tee returns on their investments…

From very early in my indie author career I tried and tried to land a promotion deal with them. Those lucky enough to land a deal report of a good amount of sales and even returns on the investment of a Bookbub ‘featured deal’ promo. Just looking at some of the ‘requirements’ for acceptance is pretty damn intimidating, with some even boasting you need 50 plus reviews, but…

Its all about looking the part and persistence…

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None of my books have anywhere…

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‘The Pirate Captain – A love story’ by Jill A. Logan – Review

A feel-good swashbuckling fairy tale style romance of the seven seas…

The Pirate Captain is an easy to read short but fun tale that follows the journey of young lady ‘Avalee’ who escapes her abusive confines and empty promises made to her for an education. From the first page we get a lot of information that helps set the scene as her life transitions from that confinement to escape and the terror of being on the run to an eventual destination; that being a stowaway on an infamous Pirate’s ship.

After some quick thinking our heroine disguises herself to fit in and talks her way into joining the crew of this vessel. She changes her name and spends her days adjusting to the life of a pirate in sometimes amusing and possibly disastrous ways that almost reveal her true identity. All the time ‘Lee’s’ journey unfolds a slow burning admiration for the ship’s captain begins to form into something more.

The strength of this story is the slow build towards an eventual romance which runs the course of an enjoyable tale where the worst of situations in life bring the best possible outcomes. Nearer the end it get’s a little steamy making this one probably better suited for a more mature audience. My only real critique is that the story does tend to tell as opposed to show but for a shorter book that works.

4 Stars -Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads.

A guide to getting published: Part 1

Hello friends, today’s post is a re blog all the way back from 2017 although it’s still very relevant today. As I continue to research and put together a blogging and authoring guide book, this is just a snippet of what you can expect for bloggers and authors of all levels….

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Very recently I was asked in person about my experiences of being a published author. What does it take to reach that moment of holding your own book in your hands?

How do you go from imagination and thought harnessing all the way to print?

Thinking about it, if we can go deep only for a few reflective moments and if I were to turn around and look at the road that lays behind me. Just beyond that moonlit horizon is a whole series of stories and experiences that made up my official journey to publication.

This series of posts is a guide of how I did it, what I learned, what went well, what didn’t and above all and like everything in the world of ‘publishing’ it’s subjective towards the beholder. By that I mean there is more than one way to get ‘published’ and be ‘successful’. There are…

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Blurb Reveal – Book 6 – ‘Darke Awakening’

Coming this September (that’s rather soon!), my 6th book and sequel to ‘Darke Blood’ and the next story in the Order of the Following Series;

Darke Awakening: Embrace the True Darkness

Here’s the blurb…

Darke Awakening blurb announcement

Of course any critique on the grammar/structural front is welcomed, I can’t really change the content in terms of the story as it’s already written… either way, I hope you are ready for what I hope is going to be quite an event. 13 or more sales on release day is considered a win. It will be available for Pre-order soon – I hope some of you will at least think about supporting this one. 

More information about the wider Order of the Following Series can be found here. All three of the books that precede this one are discounted to 99 cents in most territories. If they are not available where you are and if you promise to leave a review, I will send them to you free of charge. The book cover shall be revealed soon! 

Rock and roll, peace out and thanks for tuning in!

The Order of the Following Banner

Recent Indie Book Rec’s

In a world that is seemingly half closed things have never been busier for the Hall of Information, and I know, being busy is not only the fashion these days but time flies when your doing stuff! The realisation is, I haven’t done a book rec post in quite a while, so let’s dive in…

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‘Moon- Sitting’ by E.M. Harding is a science fiction tale with plenty of originality and it’s different, which is hard to do these days especially with Hollywood churning out remake after remake but this book stood out and carved its own unique path.

I’ll admit, I went into it totally blind (I do that a lot these days) and was completely enveloped in a world of questions, revelations, twists and then finally answers. Shorter reads like this deserve way more spotlight because they do everything longer reads do and more. You can read my full review here

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‘Mark of a Demon’ by Despoina Kemeridou has only been on the shelves for a handful of weeks and some of you may remember Despoina was kind enough to be the first ever Hall of Information Interviewee. Last year I reviewed her debut book and unique fairy tale ‘Fated to Meet You’ and yet again that unique style is carried into this new one but with a darker edge, something I very much enjoyed. You can read my review here.

Magpie by [Paul Jameson]

‘Magpie’ by Paul Jameson appeared on my sights after he agreed to be the second Hall of Information Interviewee and it was another fantastic insight into an author with a unique voice. The week following the interview he made this wonderfully written short available for free – of course I grabbed at the opportunity and much like his other work ‘Nightjar’ which I reviewed earlier this year I was immersed in that style which reads like a classic but feels modern. If you want just snippet of this authors style I recommend Magpie, followed by ‘Nightjar’. You can read my review here.

 

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‘The Dreamophile’s Diary’ by Shazrina came to me through Reedsy Discovery; as some of you folks may know they approached me a while back and so I review books for their platform every month. This one was my latest Reedsy read and it’s surrealistically interesting to say the least. This collection of shorts that are based upon dreams and so you can imagine each one carries a certain quirkiness and what impressed me the most is that essence of dreams is very well captured through description and style. We’ve all had dreams where weird things happen and random events occur, the author manages to relay that perfectly. You can read my full review here (via Reedsy Discovery)   

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‘The Player Without Luck’ by Kristina Gallo is a new release by an author who impresses me with each read she releases. Not only are her stories immersive and dramatic but English isn’t even her native language and so that tells me Kristina has worked exceptionally hard to create this story. This one will throw you into a world of sinister goings on full of twists and eventual revelations. You can read my review here. 

What’s next?

For the first time in a book recommendation post I have decided to look forward and reveal what reviews will be coming up on the horizon. Recently more and more authors have approached the Hall of Information for reviews and there are also books I have set my sights on for quite a while now, so here are some books you can expect me to review next…

My current read is ‘The Silent Betrayal’ by Momus Najmi and this one is quite unique in terms of writing style and voice. You can expect a review by the end of this week!

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‘Senescence’ by Denver Scott is a Reedsy Discovery book that I took on back in early July and it’s an incredible deep dive vision into the future. That’s all I can say and you can expect the review in a few weeks!

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Last week I was approached by an author with a very current book who is looking for reviews. ‘Deceit of the Soul’ has fully embraced the opportunity of recent times to tell what looks like a very interesting story. You can expect a review soon!

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Keeping with the theme of science fiction, ‘Lords of Mars’ by Colin Yeoman has just been released and of course we grabbed ourselves a copy seeing as the book that preceded this one ‘Memories of Mars’ was so good. You can expect to see a review of it soon.

Lords of Mars by [Colin Yeoman]

And that wraps up my latest book rec’s. Followers old and new, thanks for stopping by. What are you reading? Answers in the comments, go!

 

 

‘The Dreamophile’s Diary’ by Shazrina – Review

A descriptive collection of tales that capture the very essence of dreams from surrealism to their deeper metaphoric meaning…

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Every one of the short stories in this collection represents an immersive journey and explores what’s there and what could be there. It’s rather unique in the sense that author Shazrina has captured a realistic account of what dreams are like using description and metaphor with a wide range of theme. One story see’s a tension filled chase during a stormy night while another explores the deeper meaning of life itself but the writing style always keeps the reader and events moving.

There are lessons and morale in each tale that focuses on a particular moment and the moment is what links them all, they cover a lot of different subjects

like facing your fears, being grateful for the life you lead, right and wrong, regret, family, the apocalypse and even the exploration of being a god along with a touching piece about the authors passion for writing which made for a strong ending.

Like the dreams we have most of the experiences in this book lean towards the surreal or even strange and it makes for some great reading that on the surface appears to be about nothing but underneath and through the mode of descriptive writing specific to each tale there is a lot happening. To me that’s the beauty of dreams and it’s relayed in this book. You can really feel the reflective element that the author channels into the words and dream worlds created and visited by characters who are looking for something in life.

‘Life is strange indeed, sometimes what you most desire becomes futile for you the very next moment’

For anyone looking to pick up something that is immersive and descriptive with an element of surrealism this is the book for you. There’s tension and mystery all blended with uniqueness from start to finish. Different but in a good sense.

4 Stars – Review originally premiered via Reedsy Discovery 

The Paris Rescue: The Willie Abrams Saga by C.J. Evans – Review

Action, adventure and history; a combination that makes for a good read and sequel…

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The story of Willie Abrams continues and this time he must face the place that haunts his war time past, peacetime France. We’re taken specifically to the city of Paris on a rescue mission first planted in the previous outing. This time around Abrams is accompanied by long time friend Banesfield and of course old flame Julie who’s father they are looking to save. They carry a dynamic and likeable chemistry that fits well into the the genre which has action, deception and twists.

From the Eiffel tower to the catacombs below this adventure spans the city where the trio team up with someone they first thought were adversaries making for a unique scenario where Julie wants her father returned safe. It becomes a sort of cat and mouse chase that is capped off with an action packed shoot out.

The Paris Rescue is a fun immersive read with a satisfying feel good resolve while also nodding to a potential sequel.

4 Stars 

Weekly Ramble #54

I need an agent. That is my conclusion if I want to achieve what I want to achieve. With every book my following goes from strength to strength and without disparaging any of my supporters, it’s not enough. My reach or lack of it belittles what I have achieved in writing. Without sounding high and mighty, my efforts as a story teller are falling on deaf ears. 

As a person who started this at absolute zero I cannot help but look back and be damn proud of where I am. But if this dream of mine was a house I built from the foundations, I’m still siting in the footings of the basement. For the stories I have written and the efforts I have put in, the return if I were to look at this as a business person is lacklustre. The board of directors would have shut me down after book 2’s release.

It’s conflicting because ‘business’ is not what this journey is about. I’ve written 5 books. Every single one them became a huge learning experience in both publishing and the written word. Some incredible folks have helped me get them out there; editors, cover artists and the like. Reviewers have kept my belief alive. For all these efforts in vain I am a story teller and I know what a story is. You can only learn to write stories by finding it within yourself. Anyone can be taught grammar, punctuation, spelling and all of the functions of language, but to be able to pen a story from beginning, middle to end with everything in between, that is what I learned while putting together 5 books.

And now after everything I set out to do, even in creating this blog, I am back where I started – looking for a literary agent. But this time I am armed with experience and the know how of story telling. The times have changed and everything I thought I knew about getting an agent, the last time I queried circa 2013, has changed. Apparently science fiction isn’t looked down on anymore. It just so happens to be the genre I am going to use to find an agent. But I need a book and I’ve got one. This year I drafted ‘Jack Thorn’ a story, the story that got me into writing. It’s funny how things go full circle. And as I said, I need an agent…

Have you queried to agents recently? Any good responses? Let me know via the comments, this is our journey, not just mine… 

Weekly Ramble #52

Anxiety, depression and loneliness are all things we should talk about way more. Even in this modern age where we appear to be more connected than ever before, we still face these issues on a pandemic scale. You would think the concept of social media would help to battle such issues but from my experiences it can foster depression and possibly make it worse. Perhaps the original intention of social media – if it ever was good, has been overlooked and overshadowed.

2010 – you’ve got to get a Facebook profile picture..

2019 – you’ve got to get off Facebook…

It’s strange how time can turn things around, or in this sense nearly a decade .The same generation (folks like me) who knew a life before being internet reliant and then embracing it is now choosing to come away. Perhaps the old saying too much of anything is bad for you turned out to be pretty accurate.

The reason I link mental health and social media together is because last year these two subjects culminated in what I recall as a particularly dark time for me personally. I know many people who have been on their own mental health journeys; many of them blog or post about it (the good guys!), and well I’ve been quite vague until now because it is still fresh and context along with timing has urged me to share it only now – plus compared to last year right now I am probably in one of the best places I’ve been for a long while, as I said it’s funny how time can turn things around.

Off the heels of my 4th book release and the 2nd one of last year which didn’t go particularly smoothly and subsequently didn’t turn out how I envisioned. I’ve only learned all of my ‘book stuff’ by doing/ trial and error and well the release of Cemetery House was indeed just another day at the learning factory – sequels are a specialist thing in indie publishing, and while I did put the whole thing on a pedestal with a long running social media campaign and a whole bunch of expectation, let’s just say in my head I didn’t exactly get a hole in one. By this time I had already drafted the Darke Blood sequel and immediately I pulled the plug on releasing that this year – it wasn’t ready and neither was I.

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There was also a bunch of other stuff going on at the time; that whole year had been building up towards me moving into my own place with my more than better half. Moving places is naturally stressful even if it went quite well – there is more paperwork than any book I’ve ever written… So by the end of November and with my mind trying to crawl towards a better place I took the huge dive into deleting the Facebook app off my phone – for those who know I was always on Facebook; that’s my secret captain… I even decided to go dark across all platforms probably apart from this place. This may have been the best health decision I have ever made in my entire life –  arguably probably better than no carb Thursday or no meat Monday… Immediately my mind and focus turned towards other things, of course the move was coming but very quickly and after being burned by book 4’s ‘debacle’ I wanted to write again!

For those who have read my books will know they are about more than genre and even the main plot. In everything I have created there is an underlying message within. I took on a new writing project and with my crusade against staying off social media I went a further step creatively and decided to hand write my next project. My vision was to take away page counts, word counts, windows updates and the temptation of logging on to Life Invader as well as finding my writing routes. This was just Lee, his pen, some paper and words. At this time I was still healing and so I got writing and subconsciously put together a story that reflected how I was feeling in a sense.

That recollection of feelings reflected via a story ended up becoming a book called ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ which is due for release this December. Because it was handwritten and had a sole focus on just telling a story it turned out to be quite short but it could arguably be my most powerful and important project. And so we go back to the start of this entry… Anxiety, depression and loneliness are all things we should talk about way more, you’ll find these subjects in my next book and they are talked about. That is something we need to do so much more. There are some creators I know that also talk about self care – this is just as important, finding away to get through stuff is a vital part of talking about it!

Now I’m not just using this as an opportunity to sell some books, this has never been about that, it’s an opportunity to use my writing for something more than just telling stories. 

By the end of December last year I had mostly recovered and dove into Indie Book Reviews which has probably been a lifeline for me. Connecting with other authors and bloggers who face what I face gives me a great sense of not being alone in the huge overpopulated world of social media. Even now I am weary of Facebook, it’s #4 or #5 on my platforms for author stuff, this place  is numero uno followed closely by the tweet machine.

For what is my 52nd ramble post – a year of rambles, although I started this series little over a year ago – I would like to take this opportunity to everyone who reads this and say thank you! This blog and your support has given my writing a new lease of life and very soon ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ will be my redemption, whether or not it is a success actually doesn’t matter, it’s the journey of creation that truly matters. 

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