Weekly Ramble #146

Just a few years back the concept of reaching 30,000 Twitter followers is something I would have laughed out loud at. Not anymore. And this journey has known zeros often but not today because I’ve reached that once impossible seeming milestone on the platform.

Of course and above all, this has not been a solo effort or journey. Much like all of my successes, they have been governed by others. And the help of others is what has pushed me to go further and dream bigger. I am nothing without the fantastic support of you and the now 30,000 followers who give me reason to keep going. This creative journey has been hard and every now and then it does bite me on the rear end but, the rewards are huge and this is a defining turning point.

But how? And what advice would I give to anyone looking to grow on social media as a creative? Just be open and do your best to build conversational bridges. My agenda has never really been to make money – I suppose that’s what has driven me to try and find something else and I have, conversation, support and consistency, they are just three of the many elements that make up the factors of my Twitter success. If you can offer something, someone out there will probably be motivated to take it. That and the sheer will to never ever give in, no matter what adversities I’ve faced internally and externally. Rewards come to those who work and keep going.

There is a hell of a lot more to come from me and you can expect a lot more content based on my Twitter experiences soon. For now, be sure to check out my Twitter Coaching Sessions here.

Thank you for the support!

A year in the life of a Guidebook

Time. Our closest ally and perhaps most fickle of masters. Any creative will know that you need it for near enough everything and when it comes to books, time really is a friend.

This weekend will see the one year anniversary of Consistent Creative Content being released. The guide book that could and in that time has become the most successful first year for any of my releases. An ambition to create an honest guide for indie/self published authors and bloggers like me slowly burned inside over some years. I could go as far back as 2017 and recall sharing my book promotion results across social media to a positive response – and that is the basics in which this is all built upon. If something is well received, do more of it.

By the time 2020 rolled around, there came a realisation that perhaps some of the things I have learned could benefit others who are in different stages of their creative journey. What if I just wrote a guide that laid out everything I have done to publish books, promote them and of course everything I have learned as a blogger on social media? The concept above everything is a snapshot at providing some reassurance that fellow creatives are on a path to something representing improvement.

Being open and honest about my results, both good and bad has catapulted me to a following and success I’d never imagine. That might be what I am known for now and you’ll be surprised how being open and honest wins the day online these days and CCC represents that and much more. This book was the first project I’d written for others whereas everything else on my shelf was mainly just for me. At release, my Twitter following hit 10,000 and now a year later it is about to hit 30,000 which hopefully proves the methods in the guide book that I use daily actually work.

Initially the release was digital only and this was only because at the time my sales were mainly digital. Of course the pre-order run was kind of a revelation as it managed at least one order for every day of the run which was rather incredible. But after an outcry from readers, the paperback version arrived in December 2021 and then came the deluge of paperback sales – the lesson here is simple, if you don’t allow yourself to have the availability in the first place then nobody will buy what you are selling.

Through the challenges being a social media indie author represents, this book has succeeded in reaching some of those who could benefit from it. The reviews speak for themselves and are in a number that I’ve never seen in year one of a release. At the very core of Consistent Creative Content is a very important message and that is to be proud of your journey and achievements no matter the size or significance. You can find success you are happy with in both blogging and self/indie publishing as well as social media.

This generation of social media creatives is breaking barriers and carving their own path to success which is possible for anyone as long as you dedicate yourself and of course take the time.

You can expect some celebratory things this weekend including an exclusive narration of Consistent Creative Content over on my Patreon – this will be free to listen to. There will be a few other things too.

To all of those who have supported my guide book, thank you.

Further Reading:

Pre-order and Release Guide

First Pages of Consistent Creative Content

Twitter Coaching Sessions

The Teleporter turns 4 Today

Time flies when your busy reading, writing, tweeting, blogging and just trying to survive this world. Today marks the 4th anniversary of when I took a huge plunge into the unknown by releasing a super hero comedy novella called The Teleporter. Today, it is my most successful book.

The truth is, I really wanted readers to enjoy and find something within that at least made them laugh just once because comedy has brightened my life so much over the years and if you can laugh at just one thing every day, even if it is in the mirror like me, then you’re probably doing okay. Back when I began this indie author journey, there were just two stories that kept nudging me to write them, one of of which became my debut and the other became The Teleporter which at the time and probably even now is a far cry from my usual genre of horror, thrillers and stuff that seems darker in tone. When I wrote it, I just wanted to have some fun and come away from those darker tones.

There is a lot of advice going around in the writing industry about staying in genre and not pushing boundaries too far from your usual stuff but The Teleporter goes against that grain and took me out of my comfort zone. While some ‘industry’ advice does work for all, following your heart and your creativity is important because anytime I have created out of my comfort zone, things have eventually gone well. After an initial release that saw less than 20 sales in the first month, I was convinced very early on that I had failed. 2018 Lee was a different, less patient creative who had no idea about the path that was coming.

It is never too late for a book to find success and The Teleporter is proof of that because just over a year after release, BookBub selected it for a featured deal. A BookBub featured deal is a huge thing for any author and is often referred to as the holy grail of advertising deals. For a very small time indie author to have a book I thought nobody liked selected by BookBub was a truly special moment and then in 2021 they selected it again – at the time, it had around 20 Amazon ratings. These two moments are what I always draw to whenever I have any doubts because if a site like BookBub who often feature literary giants like James Patterson and Stephen King say yes to my book, well then I must be doing something right.

And today there aren’t many doubts about this book which was downloaded over 10,000 times in a single day for that second featured deal. Just some days later it then became a Best Seller on Amazon and just months after it hit 100 Amazon ratings. Every month since that second deal which was the best business decision I’d ever made, The Teleporter has always sold copies and to me is the greatest proof that it is never too late for a book to find success.

To all of those who have supported this super hero comedy, thank you.

You can read all about how I secured that 2nd BookBub Featured Deal here.

Available now in Paperback – Consistent Creative Content

Like I always say, you can do this, quite simply because I did and you might even leapfrog anything I did…

What exactly am I talking about? Success in blogging, authoring and social media-ing because my guide book guides you towards it, and now in cost effective paperback!

With this book, I originally envisioned a digital only release due to the fact I only really sell e books but recent demand has taught me to change my stance and admit this may have been a slight oversight on my behalf. The learning curve here is to listen to your readers and so many wonderful folks asked for this to be released in paperback so here it is.

So what is Consistent Creative Content? Well kind reader, CCC is a part memoir and part guidebook that lays out everything I have learned on my path to 6 books in 5 years being published, gaining over 10,000 Twitter follows and how I turned this blog around to a near 900 plus following – I have even started to make money on this journey and now this book will guide you toward that. From marketing yourself to the basics of social media, there is even a stack of quotes by fellow authors and bloggers that I have connected with over the years. Above all this book teaches you to find happiness on your path and that there is no substitute for hard work.

Here I stand regularly selling books and with a loyal engaged following. All of it because you guys support my Consistent Creative Content across platforms. This book would make the perfect gift to give to the blogger, author or creative you know this season. You’ll find the link below and also some extra resources that are samples from this book. Thank you for the support kind readers!

Basic Blog Content Ideas

Twitter Basics – Stuff I follow everyday

The First Pages of Consistent Creative Content

Book Links:

US Link for CCC

UK Link for CCC

Weekly Ramble #130

What an incredible year 2021 has been. Although challenging at times the past twelve months could be described by many words but for me as an author, I’m going to use potential.

Potential because the results I have seen for my efforts has convinced me this journey is worthwhile and has potential to go a lot further than I am right now. Of course the support I have received by you on here or across the platforms has fuelled me to reach higher and further than ever. I’ve achieved so many wonderful things this year and that tells me I can go on and get even better things. From having my book downloaded 10,000 times in a single day to tripling my Twitter following from 5k to nearly 18k, damn, things have really gone from strength to strength, I have even made money from selling books.

I’ve never been one to boast and while my statistics are awesome let them be the greatest advert for what you can achieve because I know there are so many creatives who follow me and who are just like me. If I can get these awesome things then you certainly can, for me, the next chapter is around the corner and so is yours. All I have ever done is never given up and kept going. From figuring out what my following enjoys seeing to the wider aspects of selling books and myself as a brand. The truth is, I want others to achieve what I have done, you’ll see from the plethora of guides I have churned out this year because helping others helps me, helping others builds trust and friendships, helping others is also incredibly rewarding. If you can find just one aspect of a journey to be rewarding then it makes the whole thing way more worthwhile. I’ve left my mark this year and potential is what drives me every day to keep leaving it.

5 Years Published: Some thoughts and lessons…

Time can be a funny thing and it has certainly flown since I first envisioned and then eventually released my first book ‘Open Evening’ back in 2016. We’ve seen pandemics, two different presidents and even hardbacks being introduced to Amazon since this book came out.

For a story based upon a bad dream I had during my teen years it has shaped a huge part of me and my author journey ever since I wrote down the events of that nightmare onto six sides of lined paper. While it sat amongst many of my writings gathering dust for some years after, eventually it would be brought back into the light and served as my great writing reset while also being my debut novel and probably being my most important publishing moment to date. This post is dedicated to some of the vital things I have learned through releasing that book and my wider path as a creative.

Books capture a moment and version of you in time…

I am going to defend it jealously but I am also not afraid to admit that ‘Open Evening’ doesn’t contain my strongest writing – why would it? Because between then and today six other releases have arrived in that time. That’s six opportunities to be better than the previous project. Literally hundreds of hours toiling away figuring out my own style and the English language in general stand between my debut and now.

The story to me is still strong, but the execution, that’s something all writers will always be trying to get better at and so O.E. captures my writing ability at that moment in time. This is a book based in the US but written by a UK based author who has never been across the pond – words and phrases don’t always connect but I’m not going to change them for the world, this book represents so many things I’ve learned in time and those quirks make it all the more meaningful. There’s almost a charm in early works by some creatives and this book perhaps has a little of that.

Every time I have gone back into the manuscript files to change back matter or correct the odd error I find myself unable to change anything more than that. It represents me back then and I’m proud of that version of me in time. This also means that if you do read this book first and move on to later releases, you should hopefully see my writing ability evolve.

Truth in fiction resonates big time…

You’ll find that ‘Open Evening’ contains a huge dose of truth in between the monsters, the running and the terror. My own high school days play out in this book but with the fictional volume turned up. From geographical elements to even characters, much of this story is influenced by real things, people and encounters. For it, you get one hell of a resonating and relatable ride. If you are able to find some element of truth to base your own works on, you’ll probably captivate readers. Combine that with the sometimes outrageous fictional ideas and we’ve got ourselves an immersive tale. That ‘truth’ model is a concept you’ll find in all of my works so this book paved the way.

There are some fictional influences also…

From combining the name of my old high school with the town where slasher film ‘Halloween’ is based all the way to Alien, Buffy and even Blade. Much of my favourite thriller/horrors are also represented in this book and I’ve found that paying homage to them in a story gives readers a weird nostalgic comfort. If you liked Final Destination or any of the stuff below, you’ll probably like ‘Open Evening’.

Social Media Following is everything to me now, but it wasn’t always…

I had a fraction of the following I have now when this book was released and still it sold relatively well at the start.

41 copies – most of which were paperbacks got sold on release. This was a record I have only just broken in terms of release month sales. Back in 2016, Facebook was my main platform along with this blog which also had a fraction of the following I now have.

My advice when it comes to authoring and releasing books: You don’t necessarily need a big following to start off with because as long as that work of yours is findable, readers will eventually gravitate to it over time.

Me: I worked on regularly releasing content before I got anywhere near the social media following I have now. Content will foster new followers.

I got busy writing and spending the time I had to create…

Like I have said before, time is probably the governing factor in all of my content and success. When’ Open Evening’ was ready to be released, my editor wasn’t available and then so I had a year in lieu to use and that’s exactly what I did. Just as O.E. hit its release I was planning my next and already had a draft of ‘Darke Blood’ ready to be edited. 8 months later I had two books out there all because I used the time.

The Free Promo(s) have been worthwhile…

Many authors are strongly against giving their work away for free but I’m not many authors and for the six times ‘Open Evening’ has been priced at zero, thousands of people downloaded it. This has led to me finding an important readership and has even boosted paid sales of other titles over time.

Damn, getting reviews is hard…

I’ve tried near enough every trick out there to try and get more reviews and all of that started with this book. From sending physical copies to bloggers who never even responded, let alone left a review to giving copies to perhaps ‘higher end’ indie authors only to see that same copy on ebay some time later. Reviews are so hard to get and this book confirmed that for me. Since publication ‘Open Evening’ has managed 30+ reviews in that time. A small figure to some, but to me and considering I had very little following back at release, a good number.

It is never too late…

You’ll see me preaching this on Twitter every now and then but the release of a book is only the beginning and from that moment after, the opportunity for a book to find sales, reviews, audiences and a following is always there. It is never too late.

Edit: The official release was the 29th but it was uploaded to KDP early

Only you can write your book…

Writing tips and advice take many forms these days, from the awesome gems of guide books out there to social media, but only you the author can find what it takes within to write that book. It started for me with this fast paced high school creature feature horror but I have dabbled in many different genres while only really listening to myself and figuring out this wonderful craft.

Friends and Family were there for me…

As much as I am thankful for the support this book got at the very start, I will stress the word ‘were’ because after the release most of my family and friends disappeared. While back then it was kind of crushing I now understand that most of these people were supporting me and perhaps not the book which forced me over many years to go out and find my own supporters who backed both books and me. This became a blessing in disguise and I know some authors will never even get the acknowledgement from anyone they know for the work they have done so I am ever thankful for that initial support.

That initial support is how I promote myself today…

While most of my family and friends grabbed a copy of this book on release, they did so to support me personally and today that’s how I promote myself – as a person first and then my books second. Most of you reading this would have probably come from social media and might not have even read my works but you know who I am for that effort.

International pricing matters…

This is more of a practical lesson but for a while, my books never sold anywhere outside of the UK and this was mainly due to me not being fully in the detail about pricing in other countries. Be sure to do a little research just to see what is a fair price someone would pay in other places around the world.

Seek Professional Help…

My budget for most releases includes cover artists and editing – both of which to me are essential building blocks that make up the basic anatomy of a book. From word choices, structure and overall guidance; a good editor will help shape that work of yours. A good cover artist will also guide you – ‘Open Evening’ looks the way it does because of the professional help I got. The original cover I envisioned was way more elaborate but I know that those scratches embody everything I wanted to covey for a potential reader.

Keep Creating, Keep Learning…

The journey never ends and books once they are released will outlive us eventually. Books are a life investment and it’s important to learn what you can from releasing one into the wide world where anyone and anything can be said about it.

‘Open Evening’ represents the start of my publishing journey and for all it’s ‘charm’ this book is something I am immensely proud of giving to the world. There is something truly genuine about fostering a story from scratch and writing it with your heart and then offering it to the world; perhaps that’s the most genuine thing a human can do. To me, its certainly up there, so no matter what happens, embrace your art, learn from it, keep creating it and in this case embrace the unexpected.

The Power of Positivity on Social Media

Over the many years and through great trial and error on social media I have concluded that positivity is a powerful thing. Now I’m not talking about stapling a smile to your face for the crowd because when it comes to being positive online, that’s something that cannot be staged. But like most of the things I say that work on social media, they are no good unless I show you. So what do I mean by being positive – perhaps something one shouldn’t go shouting about these days out in the street without some context or a mask…

Some Context

Any victory small or large that you positively share with a social media following in a gracious way should be well received. How do I know that? Because I’ve spent a huge amount of time testing the waters and those stormy social media seas can be weathered by anyone; all you need to do is try and keep trying. But what do I really mean? All I can do is tell you my results that have worked and no, there isn’t any hack or magic formula to being positive online – you just have to show up and share.

But what if it feels like I haven’t achieved anything big or small to share?

That’s the wonder of being positive because it has multiple inputs. Sometimes it isn’t all about you and yes even I struggle with telling my ego that but, well-wishing is greatly received on social media. Just wishing your following a good day will resonate with someone and that resonation might compel someone to converse which is engagement which will turn into visibility and visibility turns into sales or follows or often overlooked – a good conversation and experience on social media. And remember social and media, they are named in that order to me for a reason – be social first, share media second.

Being positive on social media isn’t always about sharing results or victory but simply sparking an opportunity to engage and talk with another human behind the handle. So many users forget that or don’t even realise that. Just being on social media to sell things probably won’t take you very far unless you have a very mainstream and needed product or a bucket load of money to push your presence in front of everyone.

There are so many social media users out there who try to stir a reaction by being controversial or perhaps even spicy. I call that sort of thing bait and they’ll cast it out to the masses just to stir engagement – having been a reader most my life and present on social media for years, someone like me can see straight through it and none of that stuff ever really compels me to engage plus ultimately it is negative. Those who do thrive off negativity on social media will not last, no human can sustain negativity for long so be positive instead because sharing good things leads to even better things.

The Outlook is Positive

I know all too well that it’s hard having a lower following and for a long time it will feel like you are simply shouting into the void. Fill that void with positivity and it will answer back eventually. From sharing those smaller victories like a follower milestone, single book sale or new book review to simply wishing others a good day – humans are drawn to good news, good things and good things happening to you.

It fosters hope and if you give another person hope, they are unstoppable.

Practical Applications for Being Positive on Social Media:

Basic Tip: For those looking for a better reach, try using some hashtags. Most of the time the Hashtags I use are writing based like: #writingcommunity #authors #indieauthors #booktwitter #readingcommunity

There are even some mainstream hashtags that trend at certain times or days like: #mondaymotivation and #fridayfeeling

You can find more positive things listed on the original post which can be found and read for FREE over on my Patreon.

Thanks for reading and stay positive folks!

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…

Weekly Ramble #109

10,000 Twitter followers is a huge achievement. That’s 10,000 reasons to keep going. 10,000 reasons to not give up. 10,000 reasons to be thankful for the support I have. While it is an exceptional and somewhat numbing moment, right now I feel as if a huge amount of pressure has been lifted. Having that many people behind you means that I no longer have to fight for attention or tolerate things that would effect my following if I reacted in a particular way. It has been a journey and it is now paying off.

Since even before my rise on Twitter I’ve been incredibly lucky to be supported by good people on here. The day-in day-outers who show up and click like on my posts, folks like me trying to make it in this world that is full of challenges. You guys were here before that and during it. I never forget those who have helped me and this celebration is just as much yours as it is mine. Inclusion has always been my mantra and probably why I am so successful at social media.

Sometimes the good guys win and sometimes it all just works out. I’m nothing special but what I stand for and those who stand beside me are exceptional. All I have ever done is carry on, regardless of bad results and being in the company of my old friend zero, I’ve kept going and the rewards are finally presenting themselves. Resilience in the face of adversity is probably the one thing I know, everything else I’ve just picked up along the way. If you do head over to twitter in recent times you’ll see a video at the top of my profile which outlines everything I feel right now. My determination to support and prove that indie authoring is viable, continues…

A year on since, well you know…

Its weird to think that a whole year has gone by since some of us thought the absolute worst was upon us. The end perhaps and maybe it was the end of ‘normal’ days before a pandemic gripped the whole world, captured our darkest thoughts and kept us away from one another.

The last twelve months have been a journey of emotion. There are those I know personally who lost the battle against a pathogen which didn’t discriminate, it just spread, quickly. My heart and thoughts go to the one’s we lost and their families. This has been a time I won’t want to live through again and even though I claim to be introverted I get my energy from being around others, real people, not through a Zoom call but through in-person interaction. I’m hoping soon that I can refill my energy by being around those I miss and haven’t been able to see.

This blog has done it’s best not to acknowledge these ‘times’ and for it there have been some wonderful moments of success that even extend to my writing career. Not only did the world change a year ago but I vowed to carry on through whatever and perhaps my situation allowed that, a fortunate situation and believe me, I know it’s worth. To release a book in 2020 was the biggest statement to fight against an era which did everything it could to rip our lives apart and the truth is, I’m a better person for it. Survival is a word that gets used a lot these days and maybe that’s all this was. Those who faced their own battles in 2020 and even those now still fighting the darkness of what unfolded, the sun is about to come up.

Truthfully and only for a short while this whole deal felt a little dystopian and deep down I was scared. It’s okay to be scared, it’s okay to be hurt and it’s okay to have scars. This era has proven how precious life truly is and what the relationships that mean the most to me are truly worth. Even the friendships I forged during this time online are precious to me. The followers on here and my other platforms kept that fear at bay and kept me going. People gave me hope through all of this. So as I take one hell of a deep breath to reflect, my thoughts are with the one’s who never made it through this, the vaccine was only months from their tragic departure. Life can be like that I guess…