Big Book Update 2018

2018 is closing in on the horizon and I find myself asking where did that year go? Time flies when your kicking ass and writing books. But these days blog posts are rare for me due to my procrastination efforts and my philosophy of no news equals no blog.

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Of course I could find something to vent about, like the deteriorating political situation in ‘insert nation here’ or how ‘insert maniacal world leader here’ will get us all into a nuclear war. It’s safe to say I prefer not to debate and voice opinions of such things, I find most news tiresome, especially when most of it is bad, I’m not ignorant, just selective. All bad news aside, I must say 2017 has been incredibly diverse for me in terms of success and writing efforts.

Earlier in the first half of this year we saw the release of my second novel Darke Blood in which sales are still trickling by and even some fresh reviews have made their way in. The feedback overall has been good and my efforts to publish this book have been very much worthwhile.

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Open Evening had further success by reaching Number 1 in its Occult category on amazon and sold over 600 copies in a day (it was free to download at the time!).

Soon after DB’s publication and before I got to work drafting my next next book. I say next next because 2018 is a huge year for me.

 

2018 will see two books of mine grace publication. My back catalogue this time next year will increase to 100%! (that’s just maths…) 

So what are they? Well scrolling down past this post you will see my announcement post for CEMETERY HOUSE; the sequel to Open Evening and also linked to the Darke Blood universe! Exciting huh? Click on the picture below to view the teaser. We are looking at a Halloween release for CH.

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So what’s the other book?

Soon after finishing the inital draft of CH I needed a much needed light hearted break away from horror/thrillers and so I got to work on a comedy novella called, wait for it….

THE TELEPORTER; a super hero comedy type story. I am looking at an early April release date and more importantly over the last week I have been in contact with my awesome book publication team and I can confirm…..

both Satin Publishing and Design for Writers will be on board to publish/edit and create an awesome cover not just for the Teleporter but for Cemetery House also!

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My next step will be to let my loyal readers know official release dates which will turn up sooner than you think! Hashtag creepy wink!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Book Release Date Confirmed…

Yes you read the title of this post correctly! I officially have a release date for my next book Darke Blood.

Things are getting pretty busy around stately Hall manor right about now and most of my efforts are now pointing towards the official release date of Darke Blood which is….

Thursday May 25th

Of course this hasn’t been a journey of solitude and again I have a wonderful book team; both Nicky Fitzmaurice of Satin Publishing and Design For Writers will be reprising their roles in helping me bring an awesome book to you.

Another huge member of my book team is you, my valued reader whom I do this for. Open Evening was a huge learning curve and somewhat a success, none of what I have achieved in writing would be possible without my readers. Thank you all for the support, likes and follows. Together we are a successful unit of independent publishing.

There were many times throughout the drafting of Darke Blood where I thought it wouldn’t make it as a book. Truth is this one was hard, really really hard. But I got through, mainly due to the support of my wonderful readers and people of Facebook and twitter. So here I stand just under a month away from another book release.

I have just put together a short trailer for the book which can be seen via my Facebook page, something which I didn’t do last year, even though I probably should of. My marketing strategy for this one will indeed be more detailed with giveaways planned and of course another book selling selfie movement which I will be forever thankful for.

So what’s Darke Blood about you ask? And is it a sequel to Open Evening?

My short answer to the sequel question is no, sort of. This is a standalone story set in the same universe as Open Evening. If you read either when they are both available you will see they are linked with the view of an eventual crossover of stories. Darke Blood explores the occult and witchcraft along with one of my all time favorite things, Vampires, which seem to never go out of fashion. This is my own take on the above and is a little different.

So what’s it about, well here’s the blurb….

‘There are more than shadows lurking in the darkness of those trees.’

Blake Malone is in search of a new start, he arrives in the remote forest town of Darke Heath. The memory of his past oddly becomes a blur as he discovers this place isn’t what it seems.

Malone shares a romantic encounter with someone who reveals herself to be a ‘creature of the night’ and he learns of her story which intertwines with the history of the ‘Heath’. Together they must face the evil forces of vampirism and witchcraft that lay in the Darke forest.

But just who is Blake Malone? That’s something even he must fight to discover. Because ‘you’ve never known true darkness…’

 

Darke Blood arrives on the 25th of May in both paperback and e-book formats!!!

 

A guide to getting published: Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of A guide to getting published….

 

So to recap from part 1; by now you should have answered the initial questions of wanting to be a writer, are you the right ‘person’ and very importantly are you dedicated to endure this journey?

These wont be questions you can answer over night and of course what comes next will also take some time. Social media has many platforms in which a writer can delve into and explore. I started with Facebook and twitter, then I created a blog some few years later. At this point I have only been on Instagram for a fraction of that time.

But during all of this you can and should be writing. It will be lonely and quiet and you wont have news to share every day. 95% of my writing life is spent with just me and words.

Eventually after a lot of dedication and time you can do it, because I did, you will face those two synonymous words; ‘THE END’

Everything up to the point of having ready material to show the world is protected by a curtain I call theory. ‘I’m going to be a published author, uh in theory’ is what you have probably said to yourself at this point but now you have some work to show for it and hence the plot thickens…

This time for me (August 2015) I was ready to make a huge decision. Before this date I was a book writing machine. In three years I had churned out not only my first book with several edits and drafts, but the two sequels all of which were related to that initial first idea I had back when I was 12 on that rainy day with the windows 98 PC. This is where I really learned my craft and developed a style which coincided with my process. I learned to become a writer. 

Book 1 had been through several rounds of submissions to various ‘big time’ and ‘smaller time’ standard publishers and literary agents. All of this received no success. Three years of starting a blog, launching Facebook/twitter and building a following was being blocked by the people whom I wanted to like my work the most, the literary industry. Now they weren’t personally blocking my success they probably didn’t even have much idea I was writing them as like many writers their work ends up on the ‘slush pile’.

Hence comes the fork in the road for you…

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Yes, I went there…

Your masterpiece is written and now you are asking google how to get published. You find yourself here maybe and read a few other people’s well earned experience. Right now the world perceives there to be two main ways to find your book into print.

‘Traditional’ – This involves sending your manuscript out to masses of literary agents and waiting. Then wait some more and receive a rejection letter maybe up to or over a year later. Or if you are really really really really lucky. And I’m talking 1 in a JK Rowling billion you’ll be offered representation by an agent who will then pitch your book to a big time publisher.

To begin with this is the route I envisioned to take. But I never got to the representation offer. There are many reasons why rejections happen, firstly agents and publishers really want the very best and are swamped with submissions every day so you have more chance of being accidentally discovered from a slush pile. Not suggesting your book isn’t the best, but it is a humbling reality check trust me.

A lot of places are picky and take first impressions as an opportunity to reject E.g. If you don’t present to them with a  ‘standard’ covering letter or they want more than just a sample such as a synopsis. To be honest why would I write a story about my story, which is essentially what a synopsis is.

They are just doing their job and finding the very best is just that.

This isn’t the route I have taken but good luck if you do try this route to begin with. I recommend you do just for perspective.

 Self Publishing/Independent Publishing – So back to August 2015 and after sending out over 100 submissions I had finally accepted that it was time to try something new. Albert Einstein did define insanity by doing the same thing over and expecting different results.

The stories which I desperately tried to get published were sealed away via USB mass storage and a new journey began. This was no easy decision mind but if I really wanted this it was a liberating and difficult decision I had to make. I needed to do this if I wanted to arrive in publishing and so I turned a corner

My focus was for a new stand-alone story based upon some notes I wrote after a vivid dream I had when I was 14. The choice to do this meant if this project wasn’t a real success then I have no real loss other than my pride and I’ve experienced publishing!

Quickly Open Evening was born and I was going to get this one published by an independent publisher I had my eye on for a little while.

To define an indie publisher can be a little subjective as its classed as self publishing. I wanted to find someone who would edit, format and upload my stuff to amazon via their operation so it’s hardly a ‘self’ activity. But I would be paying for the services provided.

Finding a publisher

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Check out my review of Satin Publishing here!

I had come across Satin Publishing whilst networking and generally being an author with an online presence. Never underestimate the power of networking or even exchanging ‘likes’ over Facebook. Always be nice, courteous and of course helpful because you never know when you might need someone who offers a service. Having looked at the work Satin produced, to me they seemed like the perfect choice to give Open Evening a home. Soon enough I made contact with Satin’s own Nicky Fitzmaurice and she was happily to publish my book!

After that journey of trying to get my last book published ‘traditionally’ I quickly asked myself why didn’t I try this sooner?

The package with Satin Publishing included editing, formatting and uploading to amazon and kindle. So this was actually happening!

There are numerous independent publishers out there looking for first time authors and to me Satin Publishing was a perfect place for me to begin this journey. They had a decent number of followers on social media and looked all around professional. The work they had previously published was a good mix of genre which convinced me to contact them.

As much as I knew they were going to be great to work with this is a leap of faith (of sorts) and that’s something all authors have to take if they want publication.

I could have just asked Nicky to edit and format the book but the deal also included uploading and sorting out all the nuts and bolts that comes with getting the whole thing up on amazon.

I had researched prior and knew exactly what I wanted; Open Evening to be published and available on amazon via print on demand paperback and e-book!

Let’s just break that down – My book is available to anyone who can order it via amazon in two different formats

  1. Paperback – via a print on demand service. This means when one is ordered one is printed and dispatched so there is no need for me to store them. If I wanted to send a copy overseas I can via amazon and it saves me mailing it as they print and package it locally.
  2. E-book – An electronic version readable on most e book readers such as Kindle.

Agreements were made and a quote was sent out. We quickly arranged a publication date and then I got busy social media-ing. What I needed next was a cover for Open Evening and an artist to make one….

Next time on A guide to getting published…..

The Publication Process

That concludes part 2 of A guide to getting published! Stay tuned for part 3 of A guide to getting published. I will explain how it all formed into what you can see below…. I will also speak of how much you need to spend, and I will even give you a basic step by step guide.

 

 

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My next book is officially happening!!

Yes you read that title right! And yes to those who tuned in to my Facebook page I did say there was going to be an announcement and here it is! 

With excitement I am happy to announce that this year (month/date tbc, but probably around May) we are doing this whole book thing again!!

DARKE BLOOD is going to be published in 2017.

Emails are being fired back and fourth right about now and this past week to organise the logistics of getting it out there but the very good news is my book team from last time are reprising their roles.

Both Satin Publishing and Design for writers will be helping me bring you my next project.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy new year and it has been a good one so far. I would also like to thank all of those who support me without fail, new readers alike and especially to those showed their wonderful ultimate support in buying my first book Open Evening. 

The good thing is that this book is set in the same world as Open Evening but it is also a stand alone story. They will compliment each other and hopefully market each other when DARK BLOOD is available.

All I can say now is watch this space for more news and of course check out the details below about DARKE BLOOD!

In search of a new start Blake Malone arrives in the remote forest town of Darke Heath. The memory of his past quickly becomes unclear as he discovers this place  isn’t what it seems. There are more than shadows lurking in the darkness of those trees.

Malone shares a romantic encounter with someone  who reveals herself to be a ‘creature of the night’. He learns of her story which intertwines with the history of the ‘Heath’ and together they must fight the evil forces of vampirism and witchcraft that lay in the Darke forest.

But just who is Blake Malone? That’s something even he must fight to discover.

“You’ve never know true darkness…” 

 

 

 

 

 

Satin Publishing Review

As the dust tries its best to settle from the release of my first book Open Evening ; I must look towards reviewing the services provided by my publisher. Considering the great job done its important to record and pass on knowledge of my experiences, for the future.

By that I mean there could be a budding author out there looking to get themselves published. Where could they go?  Well the way we make decisions and learn like always is to read from other peoples experiences. And so here’s the account of mine with Satin Publishing.

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No person is an island, or so they say and eventually if you are serious about being published you will have to take a leap. By that you will have to leave your own island of solitude, build a bridge of contact and find the required help to publication. Now since I became an ‘active’ author in the world of social media I soon began to connect and network with many different writer types and those who work in publishing.

Soon enough I came across Satin Paperbacks, and then Satin Publishing an e-book publisher both run by editor Nicky Fitzmaurice. These were the days when I was still convinced that I could sell stories about criminal robots in the future and it could land you a six figure book deal with a half celebrity literary agent.Everything was going to be great and I would casually knock out several books of a series and Spielberg wanted to do the movie!  Well that worked out didn’t it!

After some time I eventually grasped that someone like me, unless you are lucky (I’m talking struck by lightning twice whilst on the way to buy the winning lottery ticket lucky)  wasn’t going to be picked up by a literary agent for the work mentioned above.

In all that time I was learning, about the book industry, about how to write and who could realistically help me achieve my dream of publication. During this time I was also noticing the popularity of Satin Publishing rise on social media. Eventually I dropped the robot criminal stories and started fresh. Open Evening was born and from the very beginning of drafting in the late summer of last year I constantly had my eye on Satin Publishing with the view to pitch my idea to Nicky.

I made official contact around Christmas time and quickly we had agreed a date for which Open Evening would launch! After an exchange of emails I was quickly given a quote to have my work edited and uploaded to amazon via e-book and print formats (there was also a lot more than just that). Any time I had a question (considering I was a newbie to this) Nicky would always reply and answer anything that I didn’t know.

Soon enough the time quickly rolled around for me to finally hand over my manuscript to be edited and hence the leap of faith was imminent. The moment where this project becomes more than just me tapping away at a laptop. A few weeks later I received a proof copy of my manuscript complete with stuff that was to be deleted and the subsequent replacement. Upon reading through all the changes I was very happy and my eyes were now open as to how my work should look. Then came back the fully edited manuscript with all of the completed work and stuff replaced/edited and at that moment I knew we had a decent book.

Every writer needs an editor, even if its just a fresh set of eyes on something you have been working on for what seems like forever. All of the changes and stuff deleted only made the book better and overall the editing was fantastic. Open Evening has a unique voice that Nicky understood along with putting her own stamp on the work and deservedly so.

The next step was uploading to amazon and again this was done brilliantly as you have probably seen from the pictures of how it came out. Throughout this whole experience to publication Satin Publishing have been professional and helpful to the very day of publication. Nicky helped me liaise with my cover artists and got everything ready for the big day!

I now control every aspect of the book including price and access to sales stats but this book isn’t just mine, its now also a part of Satin Publishing.

For all those first time writers out there looking to make it to publication, I  would recommend Satin Publishing any day of the week, especially if you are looking for an understanding, helpful, trustworthy, professional and knowledgeable editor who can help you realise your dream!  All of this also came at a reasonable price so anyone dreaming of being a writer, if you put in the hard work that dream wont be that far away from reality.

Satin Publishing can help you in ‘unleashing the written word.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Book Cover….Revealed!!!

It’s time to embrace the unexpected because the moment is finally here. After a year of hard work not only from me but some other wonderful people I can show you the visual representation of what my dream looks like!

Ladies and Gentlemen introducing the cover of my first book Open Evening!

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This is actually happening!

At the end of this month I shall ask you all to join me on my journey of publication as the destination is finally reached.

Open Evening hits the amazon shelves via satin publishing in the form of an e-book, but do not despair those who love the smell of real pages. The print version will follow soon so why not see if you like it by checking out the online version! #Hardselling

Save the date of the 29th and let’s help a new author make their mark in the literary world!

So what did the process of making the cover entail? Well it all started when I discovered design for writer’s work and checked them out on the Facebook. After agreeing a quotation, the project was initiated at the beginning of August and I was invited to an online project base camp. An online tool to collect as much information as possible about Open Evening and what I want it to represent as a cover. After some back and forth questions on both sides the cover is finally here and its awesome!

Originally there were three versions of a cover that I was given a choice from. To begin with a very hard decision, but after some consultation with my cover artist and some close friends the above product was chosen and how great does it look.

I don’t expect huge sales within the first few weeks or months of publication but this sort of thing takes time and people, decent people who like decent story telling like you! So come the 29th it will be time for you to survive Open Evening!

2016 is my #YearOfWriting and its happening now!!

 

(Cover design by designforwriters.com)(Open Evening copyright by Lee Hall 2016 Published by Satin Publishing 2016)

 

My Big Book Announcement

The day is finally here and with great excitement I can happily announce that my first novel ‘Open Evening’ is going to be published!

As some of you may have seen the other day I put up the picture of a date on both the tweet machine and Facebook (or life invader, the name I prefer). And yes and this is actually happening.

On the 29th of September 2016 Open Evening will be available as an e-book initially and then later on in mid-October will see the release of it on paper back.

This blog site has been the very forefront of my publication journey in the past few years and finally there is a destination on the horizon. If you look to the right you can see a countdown of sorts that I had ‘fun’ trying to put up on Tuesday (look I don’t computer well ok).

If you have come from life invader you will have seen my short but sweet announcement video available to watch here. 

The details

As many of you book people will know getting published takes a lot of organisation and firing back and forth of emails. Now you’re probably asking who will be publishing Open Evening.

Well back in December I made contact with Nicky Fitzmaurice of Satin Publishing, an e-pub house I have had my eye on for some time. After sending my work to Nicky she happily accepted and will be editing the book (as well as doing many more things in terms of publishing it).

Open Evening has been recognised as YA (young adult) in genre and will hopefully appeal to a broad range of ages. You can read what it’s all about here.

Now finding success through publishing a book is not something that can be done single handed. Having already organised the services of an editor/publisher I have also been on the lookout for somebody to help promote and publicise the book.

Last week I asked a good friend of mine and fellow blogger Matt Streuli if he would help publicise things?

‘Of course’ he said (in abridged form). Now some of you will already know Matt who does fantastic work, blogging and campaigning for the awareness and stigma that comes with mental health. His journey in the past year can be seen in his many blog posts about the subject of mental health. He has appeared on the radio and even writes for the Huffington post.  I will even mention that every year he finds new and innovative ways to advertise the community drama club we both belong to.

What needs to be done?

So my book team has been organised and ready to assemble, what happens now?

Well there is still a lot to consider before any of you read the first words that begin Open Evening.

Firstly I need to get in contact with a cover artist. I know the saying about never judging a book by its cover but people do so it needs to be good.

Then I will need to get my head around all things that make up the publishing process. After all this is a journey of discovery.

At some point I shall sit down with Matt and discuss all the ways I can annoy people on social media about my book.

Importantly I will be blogging and bringing any updates onto here in order to build up an even bigger following that I already have. That ladies and gentlemen is where you come in.

No writer has ever found success without the support of loyal readers and in this day and age, followers. Quite honestly I need you all to like, share, retweet, re-blog and rewind the VHS before taking it back to blockbuster (what?). Seriously I need you, because on that day of publication I want Open Evening to make a dent in whatever list or chart it finds itself on. My dream is for the world to read my stuff and it’s on the horizon, but only if you help. There may be a signed book or cup of tea for your reward.

I said 2016 will be my #YearOfWriting and it is. So come with me if you want to read…

Thank you all sincerely for reading this and liking my posts on whatever social media platform you find me on. It means everything to me. This journey has been long but its going to get interesting soon.

LH