1. First, introduce yourself a bit. What is your name (or pen name) and where are you from?
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Lee Hall and I am an independently published author from the UK. Indie publishing to me means that I have self-funded my own books from scratch all the way to publication.
2. Next, tell us a bit about your most recent work. Is this your first published book? What is it about and what genre would you classify it as?
My most recent release and seventh book, Consistent Creative Content, is a non-fiction guide for indie authors and bloggers. This part-memoir part-guide lays out my journey as an author and blogger which is full of advice and experiences. Basically stuff I have learned over many years from selling books to social media and blogging success.
3. Tell us a bit about your main character; what are they like, how did they come about, and what are some of their strengths and weaknesses?
Left out because the book is non-fiction.
4. What was your hardest scene to write in this (or any) book?
Probably biggest challenge with this book was collating and presenting the analytical book sales and promotion figures in a way that would be helpful to readers. Over many years I have run several promotional campaigns for my books and while some of the statistics are kept on a spreadsheet, I wanted to present them in more detail. Social media following and amount of book reviews at the time are major factors in selling and they were a challenge to track, but I managed it, somehow. Sometimes it isn’t just about the book being advertised but everything else around it like those numbers.
5. Did you go the traditional route when publishing your book or did you choose to self-publish?
All of my works are self-published or indie published – I consider these the same.
6. What would you say is the most difficult part of your writing journey and what advice would you give to other writers?
Hands down most difficult part of my writing journey is the selling and marketing after a book is released. To be able to sell a book consistently over time from zero is a huge undertaking that many authors never give themselves enough credit for doing. A few sales to me is progress and enough to tell me an author is going in the right direction. My advice: Pick a few social media platforms and dive in, it might appear that you are shouting into the void for a long time but eventually if you keep going and figure it out, someone will shout back from that void. Being consistent in all of your endeavours as an author will eventually work in your favour, perhaps reading a few self-help books might help also. I can think of one…
7. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
My backlist of books have titles that are both standalone and part of a wider series which are then stand alone in their own right – it sounds complicated and for much of the part it is but basically I set out early on to produce as much content in different genres as possible. So the books which are part of my Order of the Following series are occult thrillers with vampires, monsters and witches while I also have a paranormal romance and super hero comedy that are standalone – a real spread of genre and length to maximise readership.
8. What are some of your favourite authors and books and what inspired you to become a writer in the first place?
Probably my all-time favourite author would be Michael Crichton. Most will know him as the writer of Jurassic Park but my first Crichton experience came from Timeline, a book I found while working my first job as an airplane cleaner. After consuming that book within days, I filled my shelves with his works which then inspired me to write.
9. What would you say has been the best way to market your books?
Without a doubt the best way to market my books I have found is to have more books available. Taking inspiration from my own experience after finding Timeline, which I enjoyed, that motivated me to find more books by Crichton. If a reader has a good connection with a book, many of them will at least want to know if that author has any more available. Of course, this is a long term strategy but all good things take time. Along with an ever present social media effort, eventually this worked to sell books for me.
10. Are there any tropes, clichés, or writing styles that you dislike and, if so, what are they and why?
Tropes and clichés are something I sometimes enjoy as a guilty pleasure. They are that for a reason because most of the time they work for me. I haven’t found a writing style yet that I’ve not enjoyed in some capacity although I only tend to pick up books I know I’ll probably enjoy.
11. Do you read reviews of your book and, if so, how do you handle negative feedback?
At the very beginning of my journey I would hang off every review I’d received but eventually I began to care more about the quantity of ratings as opposed to the finer detail. If the review is from someone I know then I might embrace it more. Negative feedback is probably one of the only certainties when it comes to publishing and I’m content knowing that not everyone will enjoy my stuff. After a few 1 star ratings and a few 5 stars, you kind of just go with the flow eventually. Above all, a rating is proof of readership.
12. What are some of your quirks as a writer? Do you like to plot everything out or do you prefer to just “wing it” and see where the story takes you? Do you listen to music when writing and, if so, what do you listen to?
Most of my story ideas spend some time in my own imagination before being written. If the idea sticks around long enough then I’ll be compelled to try and funnel that into a bigger story which will then hopefully grow. By then I’ll at least know the finish and a few major plot points but the rest, that’s where I find the enjoyment of going wherever the story takes me. I prefer to draft in silence but at the final editing stages I’ll throw on some music, Bon Jovi and Guns N’ Roses feature a lot during editing sessions.
13. What is the best advice you’ve ever had when it comes to writing and what advice would you give to new writers?
The best advice I have received is to find your niche. If you can specialise in something only you can do as an author then you’ll have no trouble in finding readers and creating a brand.
Advice I can give to new writers is to dive in and work hard. You can only get better at writing by writing and spending time figuring out how to write. Reading helps also, that’s probably why you’re writing in the first place. Selling is a huge step after writing and to do that you need to earn the trust of people first and foremost.
14. What’s next for you? Are you currently working on any new books or stories?
After recently releasing my seventh book I am now looking towards querying a book project to agents while continuing to support fellow authors by reading and reviewing their work. You can catch me most days over on Twitter trying to be witty and hopefully supportive to others.
15. Finally, feel free to plug your social media, website, and links to Amazon, GoodReads, and other relevant sites below, and detail any current offers available for your book/s:
Thank you for the opportunity to talk about writing.
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