Weekly Ramble #94

It’s going to be a long and brutal year. From what has already happened all the way to the perhaps far off light on the ever further horizon it’s going to be a grind. I’ve faced many adversities in my life and survived; this year will be no different – perhaps surviving and rolling up my sleeves is all I know what to do.

You watch the news and you’ll know just what we are in for. But not all of it is bad, it’s just difficult and defining that difference much like any perspective is what will pull me through. I’ve had every type of day at the office in my life so the sequel to 2020 doesn’t scare me although every time I look at the news there’s something else to sigh deeply about. Where I am is currently locked down, the virus numbers are higher than ever, the causation most probably people not acknowledging how serious this whole deal is – the people that aren’t me.

January is traditionally a gruelling month with book sales, already somehow I can boast just a handful – something I will revel in, damn it’s hard to sell books sometimes and getting reviews, well that’s another question. That struggle is universal and never ending, the trick is not to let it get to you. A poor man doesn’t dwell on their bank balance or what he hasn’t got, he concentrates on trying to improve from zero, take that how you will but with everything going on around me, I’ll look to improve what I can by taking every victory I can no matter the size. Every single victory is going to count this year and hopefully turn the tables, eventually. Let’s hope so…

To those who have grabbed a copy of my work recently or left a review, thank you.

Weekly Writing Inspiration #25

Whoa, its the 25th edition of sharing memes and some writing inspiration. That’s awesome and so are you for supporting it. Let’s dive in…

Doing the best work here

Loved her first album…

‘Flying turtle…’

Caption: Folks who don’t use dark mode…

That’s better…

Hmmmm

Writers will appreciate this..

And maybe this…

Shrek is love…

Ha…

Dogs, they know all…

I should get a dog…

If only….

Thanks for tuning in folks. See you in the next one!

Weekly Ramble #93

Pick a project and start editing. That’s my motto for the start of this year and that’s what I’m currently doing. The self help guide book is shaping up and also growing in detail. Although I only drafted it back in August, that’s a long time in this world, things have moved forward, lessons have been learned in abundance and this train of authoring and blogging is not stopping.

It’s a good time to be busy and to get lost in projects because out that window, much like the last ten or so months it’s just doom and gloom. The UK is going into another ‘lockdown’ imminently and well for me nothing much changes. Work, home, work and then home. In between that reading, writing and blogging. I’m staying in, much like last year and for probably the duration. I’ve said before that lockdown equals opportunity and so that’s what I shall seize. As much as things are bad, while I’m at home, I’m safe and I take solace in that.

While this year has started in one place, twelve months is a long time and everything is still to play for….

Busy folks get things done and that’s just what I am… hope you are all keeping busy and staying safe….

Why I write…

Many of us create to beat the blues,

So don’t blame me for the two star reviews.

Something I might have made way back when,

Are possibly words I’ve moved on from since then.

Although it may still be a piece of me,

Publishing it to the world set it free.

There will be a thousand days of ‘thinking it through’,

But that writing gave me something to do.

My stuff may never be your cup of tea,

But I wrote it for me, not for you…

Yeah, it might feel a little passive aggressive but don’t judge, it’s not aimed at anyone in particular. I found this in my notes while having a clear out of half written notepads so I thought I would share it. I thought I had already put it up on here but couldn’t find the post anywhere… It captures a certain mood most creatives go through after releasing their work into the world.

Weekly Writing Inspiration #23

While most of the content on this here blogging effort has slowed down for the festive season the memes are flying high like Santa…

Told ya he was flying high!

I have so many questions…

Damn Slim. I remember listening to him on cassette via my walkman…

Childhood ruined…

You’re godamned right!

I’ll learn to crop if you review a book…

Speaking of reviews, this one mean’s a lot. Thanks for the support!

That wraps things up for this weekly meme/inspiration share. Have a good one folks…

Weekly Ramble #91

Looking back at my debut novel these past few days has presented a range of emotions. From cringe to admiration all the way to evolution. Like all art it captures a moment in time and also accurately relays the creators frame of mind and their ability in such a moment. It might not read as fluidly as my more recent works and I’ll admit it’s got all the usual ‘debuty’ attributes of an author figuring out their words but that story even now is solid as a rock. Back then I had that same fire I still have only now it burns brighter.

For what once stood as 6 lined pages of scratchy writing telling a story based on a dream I had way back when I was 14, Open Evening became my entrance into everything that stands today. I sometimes forget the before, we all do while striving for a better future.

Just what business do I have going back to revisit old works? This time of the year I always update the URL’s and links in all my works but this time I thought I would give Open Evening a little polish. Now when something is released into the world of publishing it kind of no longer belongs to the creator but the wonder of modern publishing allows some licence to improve existing works. Truthfully my writing style back then (2015) seems so far removed from my standard today and I guess above all that’s a wonderful sign of progress. You can trace my evolution as a story teller chronologically in all of my works which is voyage of discovery in it’s own right. These books will be around for a lot longer than me and the hope is perhaps some day someone follows that evolution as a reader. That paper trail I leave behind will hopefully represent me more than personality ever could. Maybe that’s how our legends are built.

‘Amazon Keywords for Books: How to Use Keywords for Better Discovery on Amazon’ by Dale L. Roberts – Review

Essential reading for marketing books effectively while gaining a better understanding of Amazon key words and beyond..

There is so much information in this clear and concise guide which is designed to help anyone who is published via Amazon reach readers through the concept of shared interests using keywords – while this may sound technical and it might be but Dale L. Roberts explains this concept flawlessly and easily. Not once did I have to re-read anything although I will be going back many times to use this guide as a reference point to improve my own book marketing efforts. While reading it I have already implemented some of the valuable advice given.

The guide begins with Dale relaying a conversation he had with a few old friends who share the same interests and this serves as an example throughout in how we can find an audience that can relate to our books to eventually drive sales. That ideal reader is out there and we just need to build a bridge to them through keywords. Of course we get a plethora of information on keywords like what they are, why they are important and how best to use them. It’s upfront about the fact keywords aren’t all that sell books but they are indeed important.

The world of selling books on Amazon can be daunting especially if you don’t know much about it but this guide has given me a lot more than I used to know and there are even some other valuable outside the box tips that opened my eyes. From search engine algorithms to the relevancy of key words alongside many more useful articles linked throughout and at the end of what I consider an essential read for all authors.

5 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

Weekly Writing Inspiration #20

How many Mondays are there in the month that never ends? Nearly as many memes as you’ll find ahead. There’s actual inspirational things this time also. Let’s do this…

My family may not be any of the professions above but I’d like to think I’m on my way to meme lord status…

The Cabin in the Woods – there are two types of people in this world, those who get this film and those who dont. I feel sorry for those who don’t…

Talking of Whedon…

Can you feel the nostalgia?

Dad joke to the max.

Not that I condone such activity but the meme here is strong…

It’s giving me palpitations just thinking about this…

Honourable Mention

Rest well Vader, you were the man behind the most iconic villain in science fiction cinema.

Book Anniversary Time

It’s been 1 year since Book 5 was published. This short but powerful 59 page story served as my sort of come back to releasing books after quite an extended time away. Hand writing the project from scratch gave me the opportunity to find myself after a very heavy and busy 2018. It’s dedicated to my late Grandfather who shared with me a real Ghost story when I was much younger – it stayed with me and became to inspiration behind the Ghost Beside Me. Even those who leave us can have a lasting effect on our work and lives. To those who have read and reviewed ‘Ghost’ I thank you.

And that closes out the longest November ever, it has also been the most successful ever for this blog in terms of views so thank you! See y’all in the next one!

Weekly Ramble #89

November is a strange and long month. I’ve always called it the month of lethargy and it is in some senses. It just keeps going. The sky is normally grey and the weather turns along with the nights that seem endless, much like this year. And what a strange year this has been.

I’m still quite hopeful that quite possibly my best news is yet to appear. One is allowed to be optimistic and of course vague as the ace up my sleeve is paper thin, but it’s still an ace. Perhaps all my efforts have been building to something bigger, that’s the hope and hope is something that has kept me going time and time again throughout the slog that 2020 has been. Keep reviewing books and good things will happen, keep blogging even when everyone was taken over or distracted by fear and good things have happened. It’s turned out to be the biggest period of growth and success I’ve known to the point where others are noticing. Supporters are returning week in week out – this ramble series, the most viewed normally each week. Folks that care and perhaps even want me to succeed, ah the dream. Not once has this writing, blogging and social media-ing deal ever felt like work, although I treat it that way, if something get’s a good reception I just go with it and hope things stick.

All I have tried to do is carry on and support others like I wish to be supported. The give as good as you get philosophy but perhaps flipped around although my expectations are always grounded. We’ll see what happens next because that ace beckons…

Book Promotion Results October 2020

I’ve been promoting books again, or at least one book anyway and so here’s a breakdown of the results, methods and hopefully something a fellow author can use because we all know marketing is hard… let’s dive in…

Introduction/Aim

It’s important to start with some kind of plan or at least something to aim for when it comes to promoting books. For this promotional run, my ghost story novella ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ was going to be free for a few days before and on the day of Halloween via kindle. My aim, to get as many free downloads as possible during that time.

Although this is a great way of generating many downloads, my voice alone isn’t loud enough to tell everyone so I invested in some methods listed below.

Top tip: Promoting a Ghost story over Halloween in theory is a good idea. Some genres work better during different seasons. Another example would be my super hero comedy book which always sells better in summer months (northern hemisphere) as it makes for a beach read. Have you got a Christmas themed story coming up? December is closing in. Timing is important folks…

Strategy – how was I going to do it?

As mentioned I would firstly set the price of my book to free via Kindle Direct Publishing. If your e book is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited they allow you so many days every so often to make that book free for promotional purposes. In terms of target market, because it will be free, we were aiming for everyone – free books are more of a blanket approach in terms of targeting. There are some authors who insist they’ll never make their work available for free – you’ll probably never reach a larger scale audience if you think that way, no matter how special you think that book is…

How exactly was I going to reach as many people as possible?

  1. Book Promotion websites that offer paid advertising. Websites listed below.
  2. Via my social media following – 4k twitter followers and 500+ blog followers and 500+ Facebook page followers.

There are many paid and free book promotion sites that do a great job in reaching readers. When running a promo I would recommend using them and in my case I spread them out over the three days the book would be free. This is also a great way of knowing which sites are effective.

Top tip: When paying for anything online make sure you use a reputable payment service such as PayPal. There are also many authors like myself who will share results highlighting who are the better sites so remember to do your research.

Results

As you can see nearly 2000 people downloaded the book across 9 different Amazon territories over the 3 days. Day 2 was the most popular and we even got a number 1 chart position over in the US, so let us look at the methods I used in detail.

Methods in Detail

The following things made this promo a success:

Existing Book Reviews

Let’s face it, getting book reviews is a struggle but the one’s we get help immensely when running a promo as lot’s of traffic will be passing by your book page to see them. If there are just a few reviews that will increase the chances of that book being downloaded. In my case ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ had a healthy number of reviews in both the UK and US markets. This helped.

Book Promo Sites

The engine room of this promo was the sites I invested in to advertise and tell people about the book.

You can near enough pin point which promo sites were effective. Day 1 only got a handful of downloads.

The sites I used for day 1 were:

My Book Place ($25 Feature)

Book Reader Magazine ($10)

I would most likely not use these sites for this type of promotion again. For $35 I expect a little better… lesson learned and recorded for future use…

For Day 2 which yielded the brunt of my results I used the following sites:

Hotstuff Romance Free Friday Promotion ($15)

Book Angel (Free)

Freebookshub .co.uk ($15)

Book Bongo Book Bump ($9.99) 2 Day Promo

E Book Deals Today ($9.99) 2 Day Promo

Freebooksy Paranormal Romance Deal ($99)

From the results we can gather that the Freebooksy deal which was the most expensive and probably did the most work, but combining promo sites is a great way to spread the word. My advice, if you want maximum downloads be prepared to pay for the advertising.

Social Media

For Day 3 I simply relied on the two day promos alongside a blog post on here and utilizing Shameless Self Promo Saturday over on Twitter. On Day 2 and 3 I also put up a post on the Facebook Page. All of these posts included this book banner.

Top Tip: Get yourself a decent book banner to share your works on. I made this myself via Pixlr but you can get a freelancer to put one together over on Fiverr for a decent price and half the time. Book Promo Banners are an essential visual. Visuals result in sales. The same also goes for a professional looking cover. People do judge books by them…

This is all combined with the fact Day 3 was also Halloween. Here’s what my Twitter post looked like:

Top Tip: When it comes to Twitter, hashtags and getting people to engage are key. You can see on this tweet above I encouraged others to drop links while also providing incentive to Retweet and follow back – incentives and having something to offer are a must for successful engagement.

Factors for Success

So how exactly did I get the results I got?

Firstly I had a plan and an aim – to get as many free downloads.

The book had some existing reviews which helped passers by notice it.

I invested money in advertising.

I implemented and used my social media following with a post that included hashtags and incentive to engage,

It was the right time for a Ghost story promo – Halloween

Book Banners helped for the visual factor along with a professional cover.

Results Further

Since the promo ‘Ghost’ has already received two new reviews which is a huge result but the results for a good promotional run will last a while after with page reads being tracked via KDP and possibly further sales. Overall for a stand alone short read that has only been out 10 months at the time of promo, I’ very happy with the results. This was my last promo of the year and a good one to finish things with.

My advice for anyone looking to promo their own work is to consider the factors for success listed above and of course combine that with your own expectation as there are so many other factors that help sell books – genre, what’s happening in the news etc. This takes time and patience, if you have those things, you’ll be okay.

If you promote your books a handful of times a year there’s no doubt your readership will eventually grow. Investment is the most important thing and not giving up. Thank you for reading, there is a stack of more useful information for authoring and blogging over on the resources page. That is until next year when the self help book arrives. Peace out!