Happy release day to Enchanted Waters!

The big day has finally arrived, Enchanted Waters is out now, winging its way to kindles all over the world. Beautifully illustrated paperbacks are dropping onto doormats from Canada to Estonia, and everywhere in between and beyond.

This release has surpassed by far any of our wildest dreams, and we have you to thank for that. To everyone who preordered the ebook or bought the paperback, who liked and shared our social media posts, who included EW in their newsletters and reviewed it on your blogs, who told friends and family, or even just bought it to help support Oceana and the charitable initiative.

Thank you, from the bottoms of our hearts and the depths of our souls. You’ve made this release a huge success, and helped us raise hundreds of pounds (or dollars, euros, whatever!) for ocean conservation.

I’ve had the most incredible experience working alongside these amazing writers and humans for the past year, it’s made my debut year as an indie author everything I hoped it would be and so much more. So my thanks also go to Alice Ivinya, Astrid V.J., Jennifer Kropf, N.D.T. Casale, Elena Shelest, Sky Sommers and Ben Lang. Thank you for being the best coauthors a girl could ask for.


If you haven’t decided whether Enchanted Waters is your cup of tea yet, here’s the blurb and the stories included:

What really lies beneath the waves?

Dive into our magical collection of short stories written by award-winning and up-and-coming authors and follow the ocean’s call. Meet murderous kelpies, hear the mermaid’s song, find a kidnapped prince, and explore the beautiful underwater kingdoms. Befriend selkie royalty, break fearsome curses, and swoon as you fall in love. This book is fully illustrated with stunning paintings by Helena Satterthwaite and Elena Shelest.

All profits go to Oceana to support their mission to protect the world’s oceans and promote sustainable fishing.

Stories include:
Daughter of the Selkie King – Lyndsey Hall (that’s me!)
Merrily Merrily – Jennifer Kropf
The Kelpie of Loch Linnhe – Alice Ivinya
The Bridge – Ben Lang
Kiss the Frog – Sky Sommers
Sea Ghost of the Isle – N.D.T. Casale
The Naiad’s Curse – Astrid V.J.
The Arctic Mermaid – N.D.T. Casale
Heartless Melody – Alice Ivinya
The Wishing Well – Elena Shelest

Ready to dive in? Click here to go to your local Amazon store and get the ebook or paperback of Enchanted Waters now.

Happy reading friends!

Lyndsey

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7 things I wish I’d known when I published my debut novel

It’s been almost a year since I published my debut novel, The Fair Queen, and I can honestly say it’s been one of the best years of my life. Pandemic aside, the friends I’ve made, opportunities I’ve been given and everything I’ve learned since hitting ‘submit’ on my first book have made it an amazing twelve months.

But, that’s not to say that I wouldn’t do it slightly differently if I had my first time again. Sadly, I don’t actually own a time machine, so I’ll have to settle for doing a few things – and NOT doing a few others – next time around. Bring on book two, The Solitary King!

Here’s seven things I wish I’d known when I published by debut novel:

Fast release

OK, so I won’t be fast releasing books 2 and 3 in The Fair Chronicles, sadly, my timeline for these books will be early 2022 and early 2023, for so many reasons (I’m starting a degree soon and my military husband is moving away for work and then being deployed next year, so it’s going to be a busy couple of years!). But next series for definite!

The difficulty with slow releasing is that you end up having to work ten times harder on your marketing to get people to remember you and buy the next book. With fast releasing, they’ve just read (and hopefully loved) your first book in the series and can’t wait to get their hands on the next one.

On that subject…

Linking to preorder book 2 in the back of book 1

When I published The Fair Queen, I had already written a good chunk of The Solitary King, but I didn’t trust myself to have it finished in time for people to preorder it and get it by a specific date. And, wouldn’t you know, like a self fulfilling prophecy, I haven’t gotten TSK ready for publication yet. But it is in the works, and in six months’ time not only will you be able to buy The Solitary King, but you’ll also be able to preorder the third and final book in Aria’s story (which is currently untitled, but one thing at a time).

The cover might be a place holder, the blurb might be a little vague and subject to change, but I’m promising you now that there will be a link to preorder TFC3 at the end of TSK and I’ll keep to my promised publication date in early 2023.

Hold me to that.

Facebook groups

I didn’t have a Facebook group for readers when I started this publishing journey, in fact I’ve only just started one (you can join Lyndsey Hall’s Fair Folk here). But not only that, I was barely in any groups myself, I didn’t know many of my fellow indie authors, I didn’t have a real community or a place for readers and friends to share about books and play games and host giveaways. And now I do!

I’ll definitely be using my Facebook group more going forward, in fact, I’ve got a few really cool ideas for my birthday in early August and The Fair Queen’s bookaversary on 30 August…

Newsletter swaps

I’ve actually had an email newsletter for years, but it only consisted of my most recent blog post emailed out to around 30 people who’d signed up in 2016. So when I heard about the great indie marketing tactic that is newsletter swaps, I knew I needed to get started sooner rather than later!

I’ve now got almost 2k email subscribers who get Letters from the Fair Realm every week, with a bit of an update about life, my books, anything fun coming up over the next week or two, as well as a link to my latest blog post and a few book recommendations and book fairs with discounted books, new releases and Kindle Unlimited books. It’s been a great way to connect with new readers and get some feedback on what people like and want to read.

Where do I find other authors to swap newsletter mentions with, you ask, well Facebook groups, but also…

StoryOrigin

If you’re a self-published author, or aspire to be, then StoryOrigin is definitely worth looking into. I was introduced to it back in March when it was still in beta (read: free) and now I’m a paying member as I found it so useful for my book marketing efforts.

SO lets you create and join group promos (book fairs) which will then be shared by all the authors involved in their newsletters and even on social media, giving you more exposure than you ever could have gotten alone (teamwork, amirite?). It also allows you to search for newsletter swaps with other authors in and around your genre, using either a universal book link (UBL) or a reader magnet (a free short story, novella, book, or sample).

That’s not all though, you can also use it to host review copies and accept requests from reviewers, whose stats for downloads versus reviews you can check before approving. Plus there’s a handy word goal tracker to help you get words on the page.

If I could go back a year, I would definitely join StoryOrigin sooner and start building my email list and creating reader magnets to get my readership ready (this isn’t an ad btw, I’m just a big fan!).

Promotions

One of the things I hadn’t considered before this year is big promo sites and newsletters. I just hadn’t even realised these sites existed, let alone that there were some that were worthwhile paying for and others that weren’t. Luckily, Reedsy and Kindlepreneur (two sites for writers I absolutely trust and can comfortably recommend you check out) have created lists of the best promo sites and newsletters to get your book out there, including which have free services. (Spoiler: not many do!)

These services are best utilised for brand new releases and big sales, so the week your new book comes out or over the few days your book is free or 0.99. You either want to make your money back from sales, or get enough free downloads that you know the reviews will start to roll in and it’ll be worth the cost in the long run.

(I’ll do a more in depth blog post on these services and which have worked well for me soon.)

Author friends!

I don’t know what I would do without the friends I’ve made since I decided to self publish my stories. Or where I would be. Whether I’d have stuck out this indie life and continued with publishing. I certainly wouldn’t have reached as many readers as I have, or been offered the opportunities I’ve been lucky enough to have. I wouldn’t have a second published story coming out on 16 July in Enchanted Waters, or a group of ride-or-die indies who have had the best time working together over the past year that we’ve decided to do it again next year, with Enchanted Forests.

This past year has been a dream come true, even wilder than my wildest dreams, and it’s been made possible by you guys, my loyal blog readers, the fellow authors who helped me along the way, through NaNoWriMo and Pitch Wars, the friends in Facebook groups where we shared synopses and blurbs, celebrated word count goal wins and complained about agent rejections. The indies on Instagram who inspired me to go solo and take a chance on myself, and then became the best friends a new baby author could have.

Thank you to all of you, if you’ve ever read a single word I’ve written, here, on social media, in a book or elsewhere, then this is my thanks to you. You’ve made my dream come true this year.

Lyndsey

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Ways you can support your fave indie authors

If you’re here then you probably love reading, and I’m willing to bet you’re a fan of indie books. And wouldn’t you love it if your fave authors could write and publish more books for you to devour and adore?

Then you’re in luck, because I’m going to tell you some simple and easy ways that you can support independent authors, most of which won’t cost you a penny (although we do love it when you buy our books! And we enjoy paying for things with money that we’ve earned from our passion – it feels amazing!).

Ten ways to support an indie author

  1. Buy a book for yourself or a friend
    1. If you already own the ebook, why not buy the paperback or hardback as a gift for your bookish friend? Audio books are also becoming more popular with indies, and once you own the ebook the audio is usually only a few quid with Amazon!
  2. Write a review
    1. Reviews are the single most effective way of supporting your favourite authors – indie or otherwise. Amazon starts to promote books in their own newsletters once they have over 50 reviews, and that really helps authors to be discovered by new readers. Even a one line review and a star rating is enough to make a difference, so next time you finish a book just head over to your favourite place to find new book recs and leave a short review.
  3. Share on social media
    1. Post a photo of your copy on Bookstagram, share the author’s cover reveal post on Facebook, tweet the link to your review, make a YouTube or TikTok video of your top five indie books. Basically, wherever you spend time online, tell your friends and followers about your latest reads.
  4. Suggest a book to your book club
    1. Haven’t joined a book club yet? Why not start one and schedule the first three books to get you started, and then take suggestions from a different member each month. You could even have themes, like ‘indie book month’ and ‘debut author month’.
  5. Create fan art
    1. If you love to draw or paint, why not recreate some of the characters and scenes from your favourite books and share your creations online?
  6. Write fanfic
    1. Get on fanfiction.net or WattPad and write the happy ending (or steamy scenario) your fave characters deserve!
  7. Donate your copy to a charity or local free library
    1. Write on a post it note why you loved it and pop it in one of those free library boxes you find in some towns, or drop it into a charity bin so someone else can discover their new favourite author – and you can help to raise some much needed charity funds at the same time.
  8. Preorder new releases
    1. Preorders help authors to hit the bestsellers list on release day, which helps them to reach new readers and be promoted by Amazon. They also tell us what our readers want – 500 preorders on your new urban fantasy release? Make it a trilogy! Plot a spin-off series! Write novellas from the POV of side characters!
  9. Buy merch (and tell people what it’s from)
    1. If you love a mug or tote bag with a catchy slogan, check out your fave author’s website and see if they sell merchandise with quotes from their books. You could get all your Christmas shopping done in one place!
  10. Engage with them online
    1. Follow their social media accounts, like, comment and share their posts, join in with their giveaways and games, tell them you love their books! We love hearing from our readers and we really appreciate every message, every comment and share, and every post shouting about our books. Keep them coming!

So that’s ten pretty simple ways you can make your favourite authors happy and give them a reason to celebrate! And keep writing books you’ll love.

Tell me in the comments, who’s your favourite indie author? And what’s your favourite book by an indie author?

Lyndsey
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