Sharing Recent Reviews: September 2021

September 2021 is turning out to be one of the most successful months ever for book reviews and to celebrate I’m sharing the best ones. Reviews are a hard thing to get and so this post is dedicated to the awesome folks who left them for my works recently.

Thank you to Megan for this wonderful review of Open Evening which has just celebrated 5 years of being published.

This is the latest of at least 140 new reviews The Teleporter has received this year. Thank you Mr Morton.

My short but powerful ghost story is starting to become an authors favourite in recent times. Thank you Dan!

In fact ‘Ghost’ has done exceptionally well this month to capture two reviews. Spooky season is coming and this book is prefect for it. Thank you for the kind words Vicky!

Seeing as it has only been a matter of months since ‘CCC’ dropped it’s nearly up to 20 ratings – that’s personal best stuff right there – thank you kind kindle customer!

Thank you to Eve for one of the most wonderful reviews I have ever received. To recieve feedback like this is stuff of dreams and let me extend that thank you to anyone else who has rated my work in recent times. Book reviews/ratings are so difficult to get, so after your next read, remember to leave one!

‘Fee Simple Conditional’ by H. C. Helfand – Review by Erik Meyers  

Introducing fellow author Erik Meyers who reviews Fee Simple Conditional by H.C. Helfand

I don’t remember exactly how I found how about “Fee Simple Conditional”. While that’s not really important, I loved the book so much, I wish I knew where I had discovered it.

At first you think ‘what a funny little phrase’. Then you begin reading and are pulled into a glorious story that grows and grows and grows on you.

Besides learning a lot about deeds, property and the history of such, you follow the ups and downs of Abigail Fischer.

A chance side-job takes her to places and people she never thought she would connect with.

I loved the twists and turns and surprises on every page.

What really stuck out though are the quirky characters. None of them are what you would expect. And that’s what makes the book so sensational.

They aren’t perfect. They have their good times and their bad times, like real life.

I read the book in an afternoon turning page after page faster and faster to find out what happened and the whole time wishing Abigail gets the life she deserves. She sounds like a wonderful person I would actually want to meet.

The ending is a beautiful cherry topping on the cake that will blow you away.

No spoilers here. You will just have to devour this book like I did to find out what happened.

Planned as a series, I can’t wait to read book 2!

I haven’t had a book touch me like this is a long time.

Thank you to Erik Meyers for sharing this awesome review of ‘Fee Simple Conditional’ by H. C. Helfand. You can find Erik over on Twitter here and be sure to check out his books via his website or click on the book covers below.

900 Followers Special

When I began my foray into blogging way back in 2014 I didn’t really know what I was doing. Other than giving my writing brand a home I had no clear cut idea where it would take me or how it would work out. This wordsmith journey extended into blogging as a way to build a bridge to others because writing for the most part is a solitary thing and I knew from the very start that anything creative is better shared with others.

In truth, my whole persona as a blogger and author would be nothing if it wasn’t for the support I have found on here. The day in day outers who like my posts, read them and comment on them – you are the people who keep me going and you are all over the world. Many of you share the same struggles as me, we might not have a lot in common but our bond no matter where we are is shared on here, together.

Writing to me is a person journey and by that I mean spending the journey convincing one person at a time to read what I have to say and take part. We have write the damn thing first but after that, I know there is an audience for me. I half jokingly named this blog Lee’s Hall of Information and now it stands as the central pillar to everything I do in writing and blogging, it is my home and I am joined by 900 followers – something I take very seriously because that’s an incredible amount of people to have in my corner.

This post could have been so many things, from elaborate celebrations tagging the various influences and supporters that hold this place together to something much more but sometimes in this busy world a simple thank you is enough. After all I’ve got blog posts to write, books to write and a career to build out of this, all of which started from scratch, all of which started with your loyal support. .

You know who you are, so thank you for being here. And whether you signed up yesterday or years ago, thank you. My advice for anyone who wants real success in writing and blogging, its kind of simple, just keep going.

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.

Favorite Flash Fiction -An Excerpt

Hello everyone, today fellow blogger Megan shares some flash fiction….

cch217

Since I now have three Experiments in Flash Fiction published I figured I would share some of my favorite pieces from each collection. For anyone new here: Inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and Clue, is my version of Where, What, And Who. I think of these as writing prompts to help get the writing juices flowing. Using suggestions from my reading audience: A Place, An Item and A Name/Occupation is all I use for inspiration. Ranging in length from 83 words to 4523 words there are 78 unique pieces of fiction. Here is An Experiment in Flash Fiction. 

Starting at the beginning with Haunted Hydrangeas -An Experiment in Flash Fiction.

Treehouse, Crack-Pipe, David Bowie

George climbed the rope ladder up to his childhood hideout. The treehouse that his dad had built a lifetime ago was still in the backyard of the little yellow house on Pine…

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Link Sharing on Twitter – My Verdict/Results

This post is based upon my own experience and circumstances on Twitter. Everyone’s experience and circumstances are different when it comes to twitter so this post is designed to help anyone who uses it for the sake of marketing. As an author myself, I very much appreciate the struggle of social media as a marketing tool and to sell books regularly takes a lot of presence and work.

While increasing my presence on Twitter over the past year or so I have began to form a conclusion in my own mind that the platform has a complex underbelly that favours those who use it more often, those who post often and of course those who use it for conversation. Twitter wants you to stay on Twitter and so when you try to divert others away from it through links, that complex underbelly kicks in – the word algorithm get’s used often when it comes to Twitter and now I firmly believe that under the right circumstances, if you share an external link on twitter and specifically via one of your own tweets, it will get less visibility – sometimes dramatically less visibility.

This post will do two things:

1. Lay out my own Twitter circumstances (my following count /tweets per day, etc).

2. Show you what I did to prove that Twitter reduces visibility on Tweets that share links and how to get around this in 2021 – no doubt this post will become outdated but you can still share links on Twitter and get good results. Everything is variable and subjective and this is just my experience.

So who am I when it comes to Twitter?

My Circumstances

My circumstances are important to lay out because it will give you an indication of my engagement and activity on Twitter.

Top Tip: The more time you spend on Twitter, the more it will reward you eventually and this goes for tweeting more, commenting more and just being on there more. What to tweet about you ask? Anything…

My name is Lee Hall and I am an independently published author who probably spends way too much time on Twitter. Although I will say I enjoy being on Twitter and eventually I must have started doing something right because back in December 2020 I had Five Thousand Followers and now I have Twelve Thousand. My Tweets regularly get 20 to 40 likes or even more and normally a few comments – this depends on what I Tweet about and the time of day but generally I have quite a decent engaged following. Here are the numbers in clearer format:

Followers (July 2021): 12k – Mainly UK/US/Canada Time zones

Tweets Per Day on Average: 7 to 10

Hours Spent Per Day: I’d rather not say… but it’s a lot.

These three factors are important to note because firstly my following is a mix of time zones which means when I wake up only UK followers are around mainly so later in my day tends to bring better engagement levels as the US and Canada see sunrise.

Tweets per day is another big factor because the more you tweet, the more your profile will be pushed to followers. And well, hours spent, if you’ve got the time then do it…

Because I have spent so much time on Twitter over the last year I have started to realise that sharing links doesn’t always work out well and so I decided to run a test for a few months to see if this was the case.

The Test

‘Write a book and then share it with your social media following. Instant sales and success’

‘Marketing Expert

While the quote above might have been the case once, right now in 2021 it is so far from the truth and kind of makes me mad that there are people out there sharing this kind of ‘expertise’. Being a social media author who started at zero takes a lot of work, time, patience, effort and drive to reach any level of happiness with your results. The mountain is so high sometimes and the inner workings of social media are designed not to help you.

There are so many authors who will tweet daily about feeling invisible only for me to check out their feed and see it is full of links or they just sporadically tweet every other day. In this day and age that’s the equivalent of standing up in parliament and then taping your mouth shut before trying to give a speech. If there is just one thing I want you to take away from this post it is this:

Talk first, share links later.

And that is what my test is based upon.

The Actual Test

What have I been doing to avoid my links being silenced by the ‘algorithms’? Quite simply I’ve been following a two step approach.

1. Tweet something enticing about a link.

2. Put the link in a reply below that tweet.

Now I am going to prove to you that this approach works.

On July the 9th I set out to share a link in two different ways and at two different times of the day. The link I shared was for my ever popular blog post ’10 Ways to Sell a Book Without Dropping The Link on Social Media’. Yes I am aware of the sarcastic irony which I have a PHD in. Also to make this test fair, I used the same link, hashtag and set specific timings to simply prove how effective this two step approach is.

Tweet 1

At 10:09AM UK time I put out this tweet with the link in the reply. Now my only major audience online at this time is the UK so there is generally less people around to see this tweet. I did this deliberately – you’ll understand why below.

The Reply

Tweet 2

At 07:00PM UK time I put out Tweet 2 with just the link – by this time the majority of UK, US and Canada Time zones were in daytime hours. So you’d think this tweet would get way more attention and this is after several tweets went out during the day.

The Results

I deliberately gave Tweet 2 the advantage of a much bigger audience being online and so you’d think this would work in favour of that tweet. Now I left both of these tweets until today (13th July) to harvest the statistics and so here they are.

Tweet 1

As you can see this time with the numbers its looking quite good. And now with the statistics of this tweet….

The ‘Detail Expands’ tells me followers were enticed by this tweet and moved on to the reply where the link was contained….

The ‘Link Clicks’ is the important number there which is also quite high for me. Now let’s take a look at Tweet 2

Tweet 2

As you can see, very little activity for a Tweet that I put out during ‘prime time’. And so here are the stats…

And the numbers are dramatically less than Tweet 1. These numbers were taken on the day this post was published.

The Supplementary Test

Okay, so I have tried my best to do my own ‘fair’ or at least decent enough test but here’s some a supplementary extra. because there will always be someone trying to refute me it seems.

Yes this is Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and yes he put the link in the comments below the status. Now I know this is taken from Facebook but if the man who basically founded social media in part is doing this, well it says it all really…

The Conclusion

I’ve had my eyes set on putting a blog post like this together for a while and from the numbers shared above I can pretty much confirm that link dropping on Twitter most of the time will have an adverse effect on a users numbers. Let me stress that this is entirely dependent on your circumstances which I cannot speak for. Most of my guides are based upon what I have done and learned.

There is hope when it comes to link sharing because right now there is a simple way around it. Tweet 1’s two step method of an enticing tweet followed by a call to action and then sharing the link in the reply is an effective way to get traffic clicking on that link. There are also a plethora of methods to sell something without sharing a link all the time. Hopefully this post has at least stirred some thoughts about how to better get something from social media when it comes to link sharing.

Thanks for reading and you’ll find some further reading below.

Further Reading (Because I kind of have a family to feed…)

If you enjoyed this post then you’ll probably enjoy and get something out of my self help guide book for authors and bloggers. Consistent Creative Content is written with you in mind and will hopefully guide you to results that you are happy with. Here are some recent reviews and click on the billboard for the US link. Everyone else, just search Consistent Creative Content Lee Hall on Amazon – this will boost my key word relevancy

Of course the link mentioned in this post is also a guide and so here is ‘10 Ways to Sell a Book Without Dropping The Link on Social Media’ .

And those looking for better results on Twitter here is another detailed guide.

BookTube Review of Consistent Creative Content

Very recently on here I mentioned that authors and bloggers should give themselves more credit for what they have achieved. Many of us are out there every day trying to make today better than yesterday and this can cloud our judgement a little to how much we have achieved on this path. To me, its incredibly important to thank those who have supported my efforts because the majority of my success is because of that support.

The concept of authors or creatives supporting each other is something I wholeheartedly believe this world needs more of and you’ll find that is the core message in most of my endeavours on social media. Authors are united by their struggle to find reviews for their works and so when I see another author showing support I am more than happy to showcase that. For this post I would like to share a very recent review of my most recent release Consistent Creative Content by fellow author Ellen Khodakivska.

You might have seen me reblog the written review by Ellen but she has also created a Booktube video review of the book – this is something nobody else has ever done for my work. Her kind words and the effort she has made to create a video is something I very much appreciate and that work deserves to be recognised. You shall find the link to Ellen’s review by clicking on the Tweet below along with a few more things.

If you have recently followed this blog or left a review for one of my works, thank you.

Ellen’s YouTube/BookTube Page

A recent review of Ellen’s book ‘Josef the Writer’s Cat’

Ellen’s website

You can buy Consistent Creative Content here

What’s Next?

The next step on this author road beckons. While in the foreground I have put together one hell of a successful year so far in writing, my eyes are now set on stuff that has been happening in the background. I’m extremely happy with how things have turned out this year although much of it came with a struggle and perhaps that struggle is always going to be there for a creative who started at zero and has no real industry backing. Selling books when you have no industry backing is such a grind. This month has been slow but I’m hopeful it will end well. What I don’t have has never bothered me and the never haves aren’t worth the worry – my following is the best ever and there’s now a focus on spreading it across platforms that aren’t Twitter or this blog.

It has always been the plan from day one of book one being published to eventually aim to find an agent or publisher to take my work to new heights. Those seven books behind me are proof that I can do this on my own back and accompanied by a following forged over time – perhaps something that will make me as a creator unique and appealing. You never know if you don’t try and while it has been many years since I tried to attract the attention of a literary agent my sights are now set on it. I know how to write stories, I know how to sell stories and I know how to work on building a social media following. Perhaps agents need to apply within…

Tips For Better Twitter Engagement

The Tweet machine. A conversation driven social media platform full of opportunity for pretty much anyone. Engagement is the way to succeed but how do you get more? This is a post dedicated to helping a fellow tweeter with that, but first, what exactly do I mean when it comes to engagement?

To me, and from experience, Twitter engagement simply means conversation. In really simple terms, engagement is basically any activity resulting from a tweet, so better engagement equals more activity and conversation. This also includes likes and retweets. From there, many more possibilities will emerge from making new friends to even sales. Now we’ve defined what engagement is, here are some tips and methods to get more?

Spend More Time

Everything I have achieved in authoring, blogging and social media-ing revolves around having the time to be present for it. This is more of a long-term thing but it is also the most important tip I can give you because presence is what makes the tweet machine turn. If you do spend more time on the platform eventually you shall be rewarded for it and over that time you’ll probably figure out what subjects best suit your audience. Twitter has a very specific psychology that takes time to master and as long as you set out to inform, inspire, entertain or provide some level of value you’ll be okay.

An average day for me on Twitter is around 7 composed tweets, sometimes that can be pushed to 10 but this took time and I gradually ramped up to that number. This leads us to…

Consistency

Tweeting sporadically and even randomly probably won’t get as much attention as someone who tweets regularly every day so a consistent tweeter will naturally draw more engagement. If you tweet 3 or four times daily for a week at spaced out intervals then I’m pretty certain by the end of that week those tweets will see better results. I’m no expert but I’m certain the algorithms at play will push regular tweeters to more people.

Figure Out What Works

Using the above, eventually you’ll be able to figure out what your audience responds best to. Tweets that do get better engagement – do more of, Tweets that don’t – do less (easier said than done right…).

What kind of subjects get more engagement? There are too many inputs to list but keeping it either visual or conversational will probably get a better reception. Twitter wants users to stay on the platform so posting links seems to have a negative effect on engagement most of the time – I know this because I have spent hours figuring it out. For those of the author persuasion you might find this post useful. Variety is key when it comes to subject matter.

Feeling Invisible? My top tip would be to take a look at some previous and recent tweets, do they all contain links? Links tend to bury your visibility. Try posting that link in the replies or simply talk about the link instead. I’ve said link a lot..

Reply Where Possible

A revelation for me and an actual physical tip to instantly get more engagement is to reply to a comment that someone has written on your tweet. Doing this will boost the visibility for both parties engaged in conversation and all you need to worry about here is thinking of something that has conversational value. A simple thank you is enough sometimes. Get replying tweeters, it is good for conversing and it boosts everyone involved.

This also applies to you commenting on other users tweets because when I am not tweeting I tend to find something to comment on and this will boost your presence further.

Use Hashtags but Sparingly

Opinion alert but there is nothing worse than seeing a tweet that is full of hashtags. It screams sales, sales, sales and won’t encourage conversation. Sometimes there is such thing as too many hashtags because to me they appear a little too try hard plus they make a tweet difficult to read so I’ll just scroll past if I can’t understand something. From experience you only really need a maximum of two or three per tweet and I tend just use one and put it at the end of a tweet. Remember that specific experiences will differ for each user – this stuff is just from my own experience and not a solid set of rules.

If you really want to test your engagement levels, try tweeting without a hashtag and see how well that tweet performs.

Offer an Incentive to your Followers

No matter how big or small your following is there will always be a fellow tweeter looking for a signal boost. Offering a retweet in exchange for a retweet is great way to cross promote one another. Every few weeks I tend to change my pinned tweet and then ask my followers to retweet it. In return I’ll offer to do the same – this is great for maximum visibility and that pinned tweet of yours could strike up some conversation.

As you can see from this tweet I offered an incentive and also prompted others to drop a fun gif or picture which boosted it even more. Considering this tweet didn’t have a hashtag the numbers were great.

Offering a shout-out is often incentive enough for another tweeter to engage with you. While my recent book release was on pre-order I positively mentioned anyone who did reserve it and I even added some of their books to my tbr list – I shared that also.

* Short Advertisment Intermission *

If you are enjoying this post you might find my recently released self-help guide book useful also. Its packed with tips and guides for an author or blogger just like you!

Ask Constructive Questions

Asking questions seems to be an overused method to get more engagement on twitter to the point where it is pretty much a trope. Saying that, tropes do work and asking constrictive questions or questions that provide some thinking to answer, work very well. Personally I tend to ask questions for stuff I don’t know the answer to because I genuinely need an answer. My advice would be to stay away from the inane type of questions and only ask questions on occasion. This also leads to…

Keep it Conversational

‘Talk first and let the talking do the selling’ is becoming my philosophy on Twitter. These days I hardly share any links to my works and while some of my tweets do mention my books there are so many other things to share and talk about. As long as your product is easily findable you’ll be surprised how many sales are generated just from conversation.

Go Against the Grain

While everyone in the author twitter world might appear to be dropping links, asking inane questions and putting out that same tweet every morning some of them aren’t and sometimes it will do you good to try different things. Standing out will get engagement and you really need to do is confide in your following. How much you share is your choice but sharing enough to prove you are human will connect with at least one person.

Manage Expectations and Perspective

Try not to be too hard on yourself. It takes a long time and a lot of tweeting to get good engagement but the journey getting there should be fun and one of trial and error. Every tweeter is different and their engagement levels face different circumstances.

If someone has 20 followers and gets 20 likes for a tweet then their engagement rate is excellent whereas I have over 10k followers and 20 likes for my tweet is sweet victory for me personally. All of the above seems to work for me but even in a few months time that could change. Twitter can be a wonderful platform for connectivity and as long as you set out to be conversational eventually you’ll find rewards.

Thank you for taking the time read this post, if you have any tips for better Twitter engagement then do let me know by leaving a comment below. You can find more guides and stuff over on the resources section. Peace out, rock and roll man!

Further Reading

If you enjoyed this post then you’ll probably enjoy my self help authoring and blogging book that is full of experience based advice on social media. Head on over to Amazon and search for Consistent Creative Content.

The Bag -An Excerpt

Hello Friends, today I am sharing a pair of flash fiction excerpts from a fellow blogger and author. Enjoy…

cch217

Hello all you lovely readers and writers. I have two flash fiction, short story collections and I’m getting ready to pull together a third…because ‘hat trick’. (Which may make a good title: notes for later.) The following is an excerpt from a short story found in Down The Rabbit Hole: Another Experiment in Flash Fiction. My first collection is Haunted Hydrangeas: An Experiment in Flash Fiction containing twenty-four selected works ranging from a quick 200 word flash fiction piece, to an elaborate 3074 word short story. With out further interruption here is the beginning of TheBag: Enjoy -Megan

The Bag

The Trail

The trail had gone cold. That was the frustration which James Newton was feeling. He saw the target disappear into the woods but the trail went cold as soon as they hit the rocky cliff. If he had been more steadfast into making the…

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