Weekly Ramble #122

As a social media creative who regularly gets views and sales from various endeavours, I have concluded in order to get them consistently over time you need to stand out. Most marketing advice online is either out of date or easier said than done and standing out to me is to simply go against the grain of what everyone else is doing and hope it gets noticed. While that may seem easier said than done, and it is, only you can figure out what works for your brand or persona online but passion above all, resonates with near enough everyone.

Social media seems to contain this giant echo of everyone copying one another to the point where most folks just blend into the bandwidth. The passion in all of this is distinctly lacking. Understandably, it can be easy to get caught up or even daunted by this vacuum of repetition but where is the creativity? Buy this or subscribe to that. Everyone seems to be mining for numbers and sales with no real end game when really all you need to seek on social media is enrichment through conversation. That alone will drive visibility, engagement and eventually trust. Trust that you are more than a miner trying to score more points in an endless game that you can’t take anywhere useful. Gain the trust of someone and they’ll invest in you. And this is something that cannot be fabricated. Top that off with a little human passion and things will start to move.

This revelation came to me after I spent way more time than I probably should have on social media, scrolling, watching and talking – maybe it wasn’t in vain after all because for that time I gained the rewards from a high following to regular sales and now a belief this may some day be a career. That is without mentioning the true value of friendships through those things because I found others who share my vision. All I did was spend time conversing and less time trying to sell things and now people have become my power.

It would appear many creatives loathe the thought of marketing, but me, I actually quite enjoy the challenge and results which are always an opportunity to learn and pass information on. All driven by the desire to go against the grain and try something new fuelled by people who believe in me. Those days of reverting to zero are few and far between for me now, long may it continue.

Weekly Ramble #121

I think sometimes its as simple as being committed and dedicated in order to get results over time as a social media author. While there are so many technical inputs and outputs, if you spend time trying to figure it all out, eventually good things are going to happen and even then perspective is everything. Just a few more likes, sales, follows or interactions than yesterday is progress. Take this whole deal seriously and serious results will happen.

We roll everything up into a snowball of expectations when really that work which is being laid down now might not pay off instantly, it could take years. Social media is a constantly moving conveyor belt where something you shared before might not be seen by those who you are visible to now. The work will eventually be worthwhile for those who do keep going and spend that time figuring out how to reach an audience and believe me, I know it’s hard but if you really want this, then you’ll get it, if you work hard.

Through all the algorithms blocking links and keywords to folks just not seeing your posts, there are so many things thrown in front of our attempts to hamper our progress online. The platforms have an agenda also but we just don’t know what it is. Write a book and share the link to your social media following, instant sales – I don’t think so ‘Marketing Experts’ of 2010. More like spend as much time as you can reminding folks you create stuff that is worth reading while exploring every possible way to trick the algorithms that you are not trying to sell something. The experienced veterans of social media don’t even spend much of their time pushing sales, they push themselves in front of an audience using conversation which drives visibility. Supporting others genuinely, that helps too. Be like them and you’ll succeed because I do, every day. Social first, media second will always win the day.

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!

Weekly Ramble #117

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while and now I feel ready to let it out because over the years of being a published author, on my own back, I have come to realise there is nothing worse than gate keeping. As my profile has grown on social media a certain portion of folks in the same industry as me have very obviously not appreciated that growth or successthere aren’t that many of them because the mute button is a wonderful thing but as a reader of tenure and a writer who knows dialogue, I can tell through those words and interactions you have on social media that your stance is of old bullshit gatekeeping. Old words as I call them and I call myself New words. This isn’t an age thing but more of a ‘I’ve been around longer than you so I am entitled’ type of deal.

Anyone who works hard and keeps going deserves success that should not be governed by anything other than that work and yes that may sound naïve to an extent but that is how I have got to this point along with wonderful support on here and across social media. I’m loud and proud about all the good things I have achieved because there have been more crap days than good. I have always tried to embrace the good and block out the bad with my ‘carry on regardless attitude’ and for it I have reached that success.

When I do share that success with an aim to help or at least inspire, there are normally two reactions.

‘That’s awesome, thanks for sharing, I’m glad to see someone doing better than they were yesterday’

Or and looking at me down their nose ‘How did you do that? I tried all the things you do and get nowhere near the success you’ve had.’

That’s because you’re an asshole and I’m not. Sometimes on here I will just lay it out plainly. This is my patch and I’ll treat it that way. My core philosophy is to support and help others on their writing journey while trying to carve my own path to some success. More importantly I am open to anyone being successful in writing regardless of who they are as long as they work hard and have manners. It sometimes isn’t what you do or say it is how you do or say it – execution.

In the arts and in many other places, gatekeeping is unfortunately rife. For some weird reason it has always been who you are that defines your success and not what you produce – something I will always try to fight. In the literary world particularly I near enough every day see some snooty literary wannabe type looking down their nose at those who might not appear to fit within their ‘standards’ or the ‘standards’ that have been around since the dinosaurs ruled the earth. Art is supposed to be interpreted by the individual so let that interpretation happen.

You can tell by my tone that this is quite an emotionally charged subject but it hasn’t been motivated by anything in particular I just see quite often folks appear to look down on me or have to question things – whether it is jealousy or the fact I am more successful than them without a single literary qualification, although I have nothing against anyone who has studied in the field of English/Literature or anyone who has been around longer than me. Perhaps it just ruffles their feathers but you cannot beat a good attitude and hard work over time – that will always always win. I don’t sit within any group or clique in particular, I’m a lone wolf just doing my own thing just comparing myself to yesterday’s version of me. You’ll find me supporting books and art that gatekeepers try to shoot down because if I can find something in that art which I enjoy, then that is enough. Those that do follow me on here and around the socials are mostly decent and none of this is aimed at you. I write one spicy ramble a year and this is that one.

I long for a day where the art and the art alone will do the talking. Being ‘someone’ should not be the sole reason why an artist has success.

Don’t take this personally but I probably won’t be approving any comments on this post, as I said, my patch.

Weekly Ramble #116

Since 2018 I have read and reviewed 120 independently published books. The pillar that holds my authoring and blogging brand together is reviewing other authors books and to begin with it drew some very favourable results – blog follows, new readers, author friends and even sales for my own works. Those things drove me initially because they are good things for me but then I realised slowly that I wasn’t just doing this for me.

While I would never ever consider myself some kind of hero for reviewing books, I now do it for greater reasons than just personal gain because in all walks of writing it’s the ‘everything else’ after that makes this whole thing worthwhile. Some of these things can come unexpectedly and that might be the true power of writing. Over those years and books reviewed I’ve forged a level of trust from you and from a wider social media following all driven by a desire to make authoring and writing better. As independents in this social media age we are representing future generations of wordsmiths who will enter this arena someday, an arena where gatekeeping is slowing diminishing, it will probably never go away fully but we can at least improve things. Amazon have given anyone a platform to publish, but it is our responsibility to make sure it is represented well. These days you don’t have to be ‘someone’ to get any type of acclaim in writing. While agents and big publishers look to hold on to how things were, times are changing for the better. Anyone who has written something can now be successful instead of someone else deciding that.

Authors reviewing fellow authors books makes the indie scene better for everyone. I have said time and time again that reviewing others’ works will also help you but don’t expect a direct return, don’t feel entitled because you reviewed a book and want something back because ultimately what you’ve done will benefit us all – you’ve made this journey better for everyone.

Weekly Ramble #115

A new month means new opportunity. June was a grind and the obligatory ‘slow month after a book release’ type of month for me. This year is disappearing quickly but this blog is growing in followers. To those who have recently followed this humble blogging effort – thank you. I’m not great at previewing or short-term planning because much of my creativity is put together on the fly but I’ve got some good things coming this month.

You can expect to be reading a brand new book promotion results post quite soon as the last weekend of June was my semi-sucessful super fun happy book discount. A few more reviews have already come in for my that discounted book Consistent Creative Content – thank you!

I also have 2 Reedsy Discovery Reviews and most probably a look back at some recent ‘Reedsy Discovery Reads’ – I’ve been reviewing books with them for a year now and have discovered some awesome tales in that time.

I have also taken part in a few blogging interviews which I’ll be sharing across social media when they are out and later on in July I am taking part in a video interview via Instagram – a first for me.

Well, that’s my boring life. What have you got planned this month?

Weekly Ramble #114

Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit as authors and bloggers. This fast-paced world of constant content demand has always got us chasing the next result without really stopping to think that perhaps that one sale or handful of views is actually a great achievement.

Even now and after many years of having my writing in the public domain I still feel weird when compliments come my way through reviews and social media interactions. For a creator who started at zero to receive any type of positive feedback is something I’m still adjusting to. The fact my words can make a difference in just one person’s life or journey is both amazing and something worth giving my self credit for. There is something to be said about valuing yourself and what you contribute. Social media does tend to default to celebration of one’s self but what about one’s work that has maybe only reached one other but might have contributed positively to their life. There is power in that, and not the type of power that most strive for but just seeing just another author take something from my self help book gives me chills – the good type of chills – the type where it makes me feel like this was all worthwhile. For all the struggle and constant grind, sometimes, just sometimes a little glimmer of light appears through the murk, illuminated by someone who has appreciated what I wrote.

It takes time and it takes work but being a creative in the social media age will eventually work out well if you just keep going. Standing out – that’s the key, but how? Keep going and eventually hard workers with the right attitude will rise above most but not in a competitive way because the only competition I have is the me of yesterday.

Weekly Ramble #108

My author and blogger social media engine is running hot. While it has been an incredible ride to see so many awesome things align in recent times, its been an arduous journey. Most followers only really see the end product and the good statistics I share but beneath all that is just one person doing his best to hold everything together.

Around twelve months ago I took a vow to carry on through whatever this world threw us. We’re still in a very real pandemic situation that is still rocking our world to the core. Carrying on is my way of coping, perhaps even plastering over the cracks of doubt or uncertainty. We all have our mechanisms to cope but with those mechanisms comes the eventuality that they’ll break down and weaken. The reason I say my engine is running hot is because everyday I have been out there showing up and carving a following from near enough nothing. My social media following statistics are quite incredible but there is also a price and quite soon I am envisioning a slight step back. There are a stack of non-author things on my to do list and they are building up.

For every wonderful moment I have on social media every now and then I’ll come across something that effects my mental health. A bad engagement or even something I just scroll past can be a trigger and this becomes all the more prevalent when you spend more time exposed to it. For all the good things that have come from social media, I need a break, I’m fine, but I need a break and I need to go back to the writing…

Weekly Ramble #104

As creators who release our work into the public domain we’re always told to prepare for good and bad reactions but it seems none of us are ever told to prepare for the effects of almost instant and explosive success. The truth is and since my book got thrown in front of a huge main stream audience of 10,000 plus, I haven’t been the same and then this weekend just gone I broke more sales records. Things are growing in a short space of time. My mind is still processing how monumental an achievement it was to get that many people download something that’s mostly unknown and then even more awesome things happened.

Recently I’ve found it difficult to think of new ideas and create new works. The sheer level of attention, reviews and continuing aftermath has been distracting and ultimately foreign to me. I’m just not used to the numbers and this is something nobody has ever talked about or given fair warning of. One day, if your work is out there, it might take off without fair warning. All success comes at a price and while recent times have been hard to adjust to, I’m still sitting in a rather good place. My mind is slowly gathering itself and learning to live with this new normal.

This entry might have started out looking like a complaint but I’m truly loving the fruits of this long journey right now. Its just taking time to adjust to what was a major corner turned. I firmly believe that if you keep going, eventually good things happen and this seems to be my year. What did I do? Nothing special, I just kept going because that’s all I know how to do.

In between reading, blogging and having a constantly demanding social media presence I’ve reached a creative plateau but ultimately that’s okay. I’m celebrating books that came out a few years ago and are now finding their success. It’s more than okay to embrace the stuff you currently have published and not worry so much about what’s to come. I have a backlist that I can lean back on and even if I’m not creating anything new right now, the pipeline still has a few more projects. Of course the self help book is just over a month away but right now and probably for the near future I’m just going to enjoy the journey. Truthfully I’m very much enjoying the social element of what has become an engaged social media following. To hear from and speak with so many folks from all over the world has brought so much joy to this journey. Reverting to zero seems like a lifetime away now.

To everyone who has interacted with me recently and those who did buy one or more of my books over the past weekend. Thank you.

Weekly Ramble #103

The stats are the greatest they have ever been for this blog. This month for the first time we broke the 2000 view barrier. Driven by consistent creative content and a loyal readership (you) this Hall of Information is reaching greater and greater heights by the day. Its almost like things are aligning all of a sudden although it has taken a long time to reach this point.

Any worthwhile venture takes time and this blog’s eventual success has proven that. From the initial launch all the way back in 2014 to the many different steps its taken. All of this has been governed by innovation and by that I mean the sheer will to find new ideas that work in reaching readers. Offering book reviews turned a corner although that took at least a year to establish any level of notoriety – only recently have I had to close submissions. And now the next step is upon us.

You can expect even more diverse content as a new era unfolds for this Hall of Information because more and more guest writers are submitting excerpts and articles. We are at a point now where the next two weeks of guest spots are fully booked which tells me we are doing something right. The best way a blog can grow is to produce more content and content that is diverse. I am now outsourcing some of it because only one man can write so much. In the next few weeks you’ll be seeing posts that will hopefully elevate the creators and keep you entertained. My aspiration for the future is to create a network of blogging where more and more writers contribute while also benefiting from the exposure of this blog’s following which is constantly growing. This has been further galvanised by an engaged and responsive Twitter following and I hoping to bring that here.

At the very forefront of this blog is book reviews and author support. That will continue because it is the centre pillar of everything to me only now it will be accompanied by a lot more content that hopes to help others further and inspire readers. We are always looking for new ways to entertain and inform the awesome supporters of this blog and so that next step beckons!

Submissions are still open for guest posts which has now been extended to sharing excerpts of books. Got an awesome first page or a memorable scene? We are happy to feature it here in front of an awesome growing audience. Head on over to the submissions page for more information.