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.

Weekly Ramble #102

I’m starting to enjoy the whole author social media thing. Twitter engagement has really come into its own over the past few months and my audience seems to be growing by the day. Books are selling and reviews are coming in, not just for The Teleporter but other titles as well. I’m tempting fate by acknowledging my success especially because I said at the very start of this year it was going to be brutal.

I guess if you stick at something and get some experience it eventually pays off. Got to keep going, keep chasing and keep creating – that’s my mantra in recent times and its paying dividends. People are drawn to success and much of this is in the eye of the beholder. I guess perception is part reality although I cannot ignore the statistics which are glaringly phenomenal right now. 2020 was the first full year I had 5 books to promote and they say things turn a corner after 5. While taking the pandemic demand for content in my stride I’ll say that things turned a corner and now the bar is continually rising. A year after that stride, things are going from strength to strength. I’m in a place I wanted to be.

People seem to listen to what I have to say now. That tweeting into the void of invisibility has fallen away. Now my tweets get like by several people, sometimes over a hundred. From where I once stood that’s an incredible feat on its own. I’ve carved this ‘success’ out of helping others and continually producing content while never giving up.

This was always a long game and after a while if you turn around there’s a whole bunch of road that has been travelled. I guess time flies when your kicking ass, especially when you don’t realise you are doing it.

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…

Got to Keep Going….

All I know is that I got to keep going,

The destination I’m not knowing.

These writing seeds I’m constantly sowing,

Waiting for that wind of destiny to be blowing.

You’ll never know if you don’t try,

Rejection and it’s reasoning doesn’t matter why.

Closer than ever to success I cannot deny,

Anything less and I’ll be telling a lie.

Still this worthwhile journey bares some fruit,

Results inconclusive and not absolute.

The tree’s I’ve grown are strong at root,

Bolstered by good people and readers to boot.

Weekly Ramble #95

Things are better than yesterday. As an author and creator that’s all I can hope for. Better results than yesterday fuelled by the desire to carry on. The whole ‘keep going’ thing is ingrained on my philosophy and hasn’t ever let me down. I said last week that this is going to be a brutal year and it is, but there is hope to found even in dark times.

When someone asks me how it’s going. The sales, the blog views the whole authoring and blogging social media deal – I simply tell them it’s better than it was, better than yesterday and it is. From selling a couple of books a month to selling one every ten days to now selling more than one every four days. I’ve trialled and errored my way into figuring out book marketing, social media marketing and knowing when to swoop in and convince a person to buy into me. Timing and time is the above all attribute that I hold responsible for all of my success, that is with the sheer will to keep going put to one side.

All of those successful moments and trials and errors I have meticulously laid out in a self help guide book that I am going to be looking to publish this side of the year. While I edit and continually add to it, my uncertainty rears it’s ugly head every now and then. Will anyone benefit from this rather broad explanation of how I got to here? Does anything in this project matter? That imposter syndrome – something I refuse to believe in is perhaps creeping in. I have always cared what people think of my stuff. I’m going to begin searching for some much needed second opinions soon. BETA readers need apply here. I’m gonna need your level headed thoughts to get through this..

How I got Five Thousand Tweet Machine Followers – a guide

Good things take time. Really worthwhile things take a long time and you might have seen me singing my own praises about getting five thousand twitter followers so I figured now would be a good time to reflect and pass on some helpful information.

How did I get there? Well it wasn’t easy. From deleting the app two years ago to now. I’ve had an eventful relationship with the platform I still don’t fully understand but there are some fundamental basics I implemented which will help anyone reach some level of social media success.

This post takes direct inspiration from my upcoming self help guide book which is set to drop this year. I’ve broken this guide down into three sections which go hand in hand. The Why’s, The Basics and the Advanced Tweet Machine Methods. I will also cover some fixes for those already on Twitter who aren’t getting any engagement. Now there are plenty of folks I know who have way bigger followings than me, and that’s cool, but this guide is designed for hopefully anyone.

The Why’s

Exploring motive before anything else will ultimately give you something to aim for, much like any character in a book. Why are they there? What do they want to do? Ask yourself this: What do you want to achieve on twitter and why?

In my case, and the short answer; I am on Twitter to promote my efforts as an author and blogger while also learning from those doing the same.

The long answer; it’s a huge opportunity to connect with near enough everyone. Predominantly I sell my work online, about 95% of my book sales come from online sources so I need to be there for that. It’s also a wonderful way to find new books that I can review.

In your case, this may differ depending on what you want to achieve. Perhaps you are a blogger who specialises in photography, or someone interested in nature; there is a crowd for near enough all interests on the tweet machine. You want an audience right? And connecting with others will get you there. It’s both a social and a promotional opportunity. Use it to find your crowd – we’ll go into that with more detail below.

The Basics

From experience you need the basics for people to start following you regularly on Twitter. In order to get more followers you need engagement.

Engagement is basically having a voice that folks can easily hear. There is no overnight solution to more engagement but there are ways to increase it over time. My philosophy is and always will be this:

To give yourself the best possible chance at Twitter success you need to be honest, friendly and decent.

But that’s just conducting yourself professionally, most people are cool but what else can you do? Well, you need:

A real profile picture of yourself. Trust me other humans like to see other humans

A friendly bio that describes who you are, what you do. The more inviting, fun and friendly the better.

A pinned Tweet – a tweet you can put at the top of your profile that relays what you are currently doing in life, what’s coming soon or even a link to your book /blog/ content.

To engage with others by commenting, help, offer advice, be friendly, supportive and decent – trust me most twitter types are drawn to honesty. Engage with folks all the time.

To Follow those who follow you.

Unfollow those who no longer follow you.

Follow those who interest you.

If you follow the above basics you will find some level of success and gradual growth. All of these basics are aimed at getting more engagement or at least the right kind.

For absolute beginners I strongly suggest your tweets include relevant hashtags to what you are interested in. Introduce yourself and explore those hashtags, comment on other folks posts who use them. Be social.

Things not working – a few fixes

I have opted to put this section in here because this tutorial is designed for all and you might already be on the tweet machine and experiencing little or no growth/engagement. You need engagement for growth and growth for engagement but why are your tweets feeling invisible?

If your tweets aren’t getting much attention perhaps it’s time to consider what you are posting. Is it relevant or even interesting? Is it heavily opinionated or political? Is it ‘spicy’ or angry? Are you an author who just constantly shares the link to their own work? This is also relevant to what you are saying in the comments of other folks tweets. Regularly I see a user say something that can appear aggressive or forward – although this might not have been the intention it’s easy to be misunderstood in a tweet. I very much HATE WHEN PEOPLE CAPITALISE things or tell me what to do. The whole tough love/truth thing will annoy me also. Try and keep things light and friendly.

My tip would be to scroll back down your feed and look at the last tweet you put out which got some good engagement. Do more of that and less of the tweets that don’t get any attention. Easier said than done but it works trust me.

Things not working can also be related to consistency, if you post sporadically every few days at random times then it’s likely your audience won’t see it. Those with a lower following, you folks risk being forgotten if you don’t post regularly. Consistency is key.

Engaging with others more will also spread your visibility across the platform, remember it’s social media, if you see a tweet that compels you to make comment then follow the basic philopshy above and go for it!

Advanced Methods

Let’s say anything over a thousand followers means you’re serious about this. Now you need to step things up while also raking in more followers because in theory the higher volume of followers you have the easier it is to get more. It me took several years to get a thousand, but way less time to get double that.

So what advanced methods did I use to get there? While the trends constantly changed, I did these things:

Posted regularly, normally more than 3 times a day.

Figured out when the majority of my audience were online. In my case I have an audience that is mainly Europe or USA based so I post in the morning for the folks in my time zone then wait until later on for the USA folks

Treated it like a job.

Did everything I possibly could to get more engagement by tweeting relevant, fun and engaging posts every time. Post memes, post fun stuff, ask questions, run polls, share reviews of books you’ve read, so many possibilities …

Kept following the basics while also using relevant hashtags.

Took part in the newest or relevant following fads – writers lifts, shameless self promos and other follow trains – they work trust me but not every day or week…

Kept it fun and light. I tend to stay away from heavy politics and opinion based stuff.

Kept away from negativity and toxic stuff which can easily be found just under the surface.

Final Thought…

It’s called social media for a reason, to be social and the more you embrace that concept the better. Following some of the advice above will indeed help. If you have any other advice then please do leave it in the comments below.

There will be a stack of social media tutorial things in my upcoming book, until then for more blogging and authoring stuff do check out my resources section

The measure of success…

Exams aren’t the only way to measure success,

I should know because I’ve faced that stress.

 

It isn’t about where you are now,

More like what’s next and how.

 

Find your passion from politics to art,

All that matters is that you start.

 

So what if you didn’t make the grade,

Over time the bad feelings fade.

 

What happens next and what to do,

Now that is something which is up to you,

I survived that tale and made it through,

So if I could do it, so can you…

 

 

Shout out to those receiving exam results today. No matter the result I always thought it was bullshit to have the apparent weight of the world on your shoulders especially as a mid-teen thinking those results would shape the rest of our lives. As scary as they made it sound, those results didn’t shape my life, everything else that happened afterwards did. Everyone finds their own success in the end… 

 

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Weekly ramble #5

I’ve never liked management, let alone the word. And as I lay down these words I do so with hope. Hope that there are others who feel like I do.

You see no matter what path we take, success and failure are around every corner and over every horizon. I’m a half full type of guy and always have been, but then again all it takes is for that glass to smash and I’m in a struggle to pick up the pieces in order to glue them all back to how they were. Maybe life cannot be resumed to the exact same track after it has been altered, maybe that’s the beauty that stands between that fine line of good times and bad.

We spend so long focusing on a moment of failure and the trying to get back on track as opposed to thinking maybe it was meant to be. Wherever you are now is where you are supposed to be. Good days and bad days are perhaps the constant, and the variable is you and your thinking position, maybe that’s what you can change, your trail of thought.

And just when you have yourself figured out and a path planned ahead, somebody has to interfere, somebody has to think they can ‘manage’ that path. There are people who like to think they can ‘lead’ or they can ‘guide’ where really they are just a let down. I’m not personally attacking management as a whole, but for once I just want someone in such a position of power not to be the typical comic book villain about it. Is it that hard to listen to others? Are opinions really that bad? Sometimes a good leader is one who just listens and then acts accordingly.

I have only managed a few times in life, and my definition of management would be to know the answer to every question somebody in that room has, something I doubt many managers have as a credential.

Life is indeed full of downs and ups, right now I’m descending, it happens and as an artist its good. I went to a dark place in order to pen the Teleporter. Some of those thoughts are coming back so much I’m thinking a sequel will be drafted soon. Sometimes life throws you bad stuff and its up to you to get out of it. Sometimes being that variable thinker is enough to climb back to where you want to be. I’ve had great years and complete stinkers, some started great and ended in harrowing defeat.

Getting your ass kicked is a learning curve in its own right, next time just be more variable to the punches and roll with them!

 

#yearofwriting my 2016 campaign has begun!!!!!!

We’ve reached the end of 2015 and this here is my final blog entry of what has been a very productive a successful year for me. I say that in terms of writing and with work. My Hall of information surpassed its first birthday and the follower count continues to steadily rise.

This time last year I was looking forward to what was going to be a great journey of movies, video games, writing and all around cool stuff. Whilst I very much want to review 2015 in a clip show style format there is much more important things I must divulge to you all.

Last week I finished editing Open Evening for the second time and now I look to scope out and organise a professional editor to do all things edity to my work (you can see why I need one).  Those who aren’t informed with proceedings currently. The above titled book is going to find its way to amazon and hopefully your bookshelves and kindle’s sometime later next year. You can read my initial announcement here and a teaser here.

My remit for 2016 will consist of two main objectives I intend to achieve in writing.

  1. See my own writing come to life by directing a one act play for Iver Heath Drama Club named Hotel Doom
  2. Self Publish ‘Open Evening’

In order to maybe achieve some success in my two objectives I am officially proud to announce my band new campaign for 2016.

 

Year of writingUsing this hash tag for many of my tweets, blogs and Facebook statuses will hopefully give my efforts their own identity. Next year truly looks promising in terms of my writing and the #YearOfWriting campaign has officially begun. Saying that I would like to thank you all so much for the support, likes, follows and retweets throughout this year and even you just reading this I am thankful of.

My first novel that will hopefully come to fruition next year is something I am really excited about. The time is right for my material to finally make its way out to the big wide world and I officially invite you all not to join the fight, but to join the Write!!!

Wishing you all a happy holiday season and good luck for the future of 2016. Just remember what the Doc says:

 

the doc

 

 

Triumph: My story

I never looked at my work life as a story worthy of telling. Nobody does really unless you are that self-centred or somebody like Jack Nicholson who’s life basically starts every morning with the 20th century fox theme playing. But never the less my story has seen very few successful moments but the ones classed as that could perhaps be called triumphs.

There are many people whose careers can be defined by the very rare successful moment. One day in a thousand to prove that you are human and achievement can feel damn good. Plans gone well or badly, corners turned and the thought of never looking back.

I met the working world by way of an ultimatum. Here we have this acne prone fifteen year old sort of goofy kid who stayed in the shadows at school. Very rarely did I talk louder than a library voice and that was my process. School for many people was a hard time, for me I didn’t like it. If it wasn’t the teachers thinking they’ve actually lived a life worthy of their wisdom or the fact you were thrown together with several hundred other hormonal people all at different stages of development. I found a way to survive like many others and got through. So the ultimatum came and that was as basic as get out, or stay on and continue studies. Having bombed out in my exams, writing fiction seemed more important at the time (things don’t change I guess) the whole continuation to bomb out again didn’t seem enticing. I mean I could have taken my D grade results to university and spend the government’s money, but I didn’t.

Being a practical kind of guy my decision to seek an electrical apprenticeship had been decided and never again did I look back at school. As naïve as I was at the time, like all of us, we print off a resume or CV and think the offers for jobs will fly in. Wrong and probably my first lesson.

Any job that isn’t hard to get isn’t worth having. I took me a year from leaving school and an abundance of interviews and selection tests to finally get myself a job as an electrical apprentice. To me my first ever career triumph, a moment that I will never forget because that ultimatum in the past I could finally put my fingers up at and that would be a trend for things to come.

A small electrical company took me on and once a day I went to college. To begin with things were good and I was treated well. Every day I commuted to a job in London at a hotel and learned a lot of my trade there. But after a while the true colours of people came through. No names will be included but the only person with in this organisation that I had any respect for was my then boss’s old man. He indeed was an old man at 70 and even then he wasn’t to be crossed. A tough old electrician who taught me so much I know now. But we got on well and he could see that I wanted to work and be a success and overall I was a nice person.

Time continued to roll around and much of the time I was ridiculed or blamed for stuff that didn’t involve me. The other people working around me didn’t help or even support me as a trainee. Then came another triumph. After being told that ‘I probably wouldn’t make it’ by someone who was supposed to be my boss, I did just that and in 2009 became a fully qualified electrician. Even then my pay wasn’t anything near my standard of skill. But again I took the bullshit and carried on with a view one day something will come along. Much of the time we were on the road and away from home working. During this time I proved everybody that I was probably the most valuable employee but again the treatment wasn’t good enough or the money.

I won’t quote what was said to me on a late summer’s afternoon in 2011 from my then boss, but I was enough to never look at this job or him the same again. Looking back maybe I could of swung at him and ended things there, but I had the long game in mind and so I began to search for a better job. Maybe I could have burnt the bridge but I was the better person.

With the experience I had then I was able to secure an interview with a great organisation for a post as electrical support technician for at least three times the money I was then on. After a rather comfortable interview then came my next triumph. My experience and skill set along with hard working had propelled me above the bullshit of an asshole boss surrounded by assholes and I happily gave in my notice with my middle finger.

My new career began and never have I had a job that has meant so much to me. During this time I went back to college, something I always wanted and continued further into electronics. Things were going really well. But there was never a reward for my studies in mind. That’s fine for now I thought looking back at the previous conditions and people who were nothing like now.

A couple of Christmases’ ago I got a call from an old colleague. The old man whom I used to work with a lot. He called me just to see how I was doing. I didn’t even get a thank you from his son after I left. Then he told me he had become ill with cancer. It suddenly hit me that I had meant something to this person and this was a few good years since my departure. After a lengthy phone call I told him to let me know how he got on.

I never got another phone call from that man, someone who I will always respect. I still own some of the first tools I have brought by him. Not once did his son who I worked for (over five years) contact me about a funeral. Guess that’s the type of person he was. I had to look online to confirm my fears.

Back at my work situation I completed a 2 year ONC in electronics with a view to then carry my studies on further. My work skills grew stronger and I became more valuable.

More recently I wanted to change the situation at my work place. I won’t give details but things led to me coming back from holiday in search of that.

That change happened today. I applied for a new role with in the organisation I work in for a lot more money and maybe a better route for progression. With this life changing salary I can save for a deposit on a house or apartment and move out. My life can move on. Hell I could even fund production of books to be self-published.

I went to an interview very underprepared in all honesty. I said earlier on twitter it was Hindenburg. I thought I did badly. Many times I said ‘I don’t know’. Being honest I guess can work.

Then the phone rang and my final and finest triumph came.

My story shows that work hard will be rewarded and more importantly in whatever organisation you are in, you are the most important. Yourself, look after number one.

Although my story wasn’t detailed there is enough there to tell you my journey wasn’t easy at all. It involved a lot of graft and hard work. Bullshit from people and many many stressful days. I never thought about my salary at one point, it was too shameful. I partied a lot back in the day to drown out my shitty work life before 2011. But all that has changed now, because I grafted my way out of the crap and bullshit.

I won. For a nice guy that’s rare and it mustn’t be taken for granted. We are only here for a short time and success and triumph must be celebrated.

Today is my day.