Category Archives: Blogging

2020 Business Plan

I just recapped 2019 (Link) and consider it a success. It wasn’t exactly profitable, but I learned some things and was able to publish three titles last year.

One of the main things is that I can write more than one story at a time. I call the secondary one my side project and chip away at it when my main project bogs down. I’ve been known to park my brain for weeks dwelling on a plot issue, then hit the keyboard after I’ve worked it all out. It’s worse while working on my trilogy.

By having a side project, those lost weeks are pointed elsewhere, and somehow the main problem works itself out anyway. My side project jumps ahead, and when it’s time for it to emerge from its cocoon as the main project, I may be 50K words into it.

It’s kind of like how I keep multiple storyboards going. I always have something ready to start.

I intend to keep doing this in 2020. I don’t have a side project right now, but once HMS Lanternfish hits somewhere around 50K words, I’m going to start another one.

I finally wrote that cyberpunk story I’ve been bringing up for years. It needs a cover, a final read through, and formatting, but it’s very close. I enjoyed taking modern problems and poking them with a stick to see how our world might look in a hundred years. It’s called Grinders, and will be coming your way in early 2020.

With an incredible stroke of luck, I could release it for Chinese New Year. This is the Year of the Rat, a big part of the story goes down at the parade in San Francisco, where it is also the Year of the Rat, and a couple of rats play an important role in the story. Yours Truly is also Year of the Rat. That’s some serious juju right there, and I’d like to publish it then.

I don’t think it’s a deal killer if I don’t hit that target, the best laid plans of rats and men, etc.

Grinders is my stand-alone title for 2020. Sequels will eat up the rest of the time. I can’t seem to give up stand-alone work, and it’s something I really enjoy.

As far as sequels are concerned, I need to produce the next Lanternfish tale in 2020. I’m working diligently on it, and would love to have it available before the schools get out. My track record at that deadline is horrible. I don’t seem to have any luck with summer releases, so I dream of having it ready before then.

Another loose target is the Halloween season. I have this earmarked for the next story about Lizzie and The Hat. They are finally going to face actual vampires. This won’t be anything like you’ve seen before, and will take place mostly in the country music environment. They’re going to have to stalk their enemy across rodeo dances, county fairs, and such. There are some fun scenes already planned out, and Lizzie is going to tire quickly of this kind of music.

There is also a new character that I can’t wait to bring into the tale. I see him as a possible recurring character. If you’re old enough, you remember how James Garner always seemed to have that one smarmy guy show up in his work. My new character will fill that role, and could fit into future stories. Besides, he has a speech impediment that The Hat will make fun of. That brings out Lizzie’s “social justice warrior” and adds a few fun interactions.

This story will be the side project once I nudge Lanternfish along a bit. After it moves into the main slot, I might start another side project. This one would be a post-apocalyptic story with many earmarks of a western. I will also return to first person POV in this one.

This is an ambitious year, but I think I can make it happen. I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve after last year. First is that Grinders is already written, much like the first Lanternfish book was. Second is that stories about Lizzie and The Hat are generally short novels. If it works, the post-apocalyptic thing could be ready prior to 2021.

I have one problem that I’m trying to sort out. Maybe you can help me with that. I’m convinced that my best promotional effort is to publish the next book. Being a self publisher is a numbers game. I’ve been around long enough to see people fade after a book or two. I’m not one of those people.

Readers could take authors more seriously with a number of titles under their belt. That’s pure theory, and they would have to be good stories. I feel like I’ve reached that level, and could attract new readers by having a decent catalog of titles.

The problem arises in timing of those releases. I ran into a problem of releasing two books sixty days apart. Viral Blues did well enough, but I think Serang suffered because of this. This is a complex problem, but here are some of the factors to consider.

• I have a personal phobia of the summer months for a new release. I’ve never done well during summer, but that limits me to the nine other months. That becomes a book every three months during the sweet spot.

• Promotional fatigue is a real thing. It hits my blog followers, online circle, and it hits me, too. I will need to identify many more sites to promote my work. I don’t want to wear out my regular group of hosts. I like my hosts and regulars. I want to balance being a friend, offering my space to them, and being able to promote my own projects on occasion.

• Lanternfish is a trilogy. I don’t expect much fanfare for the second book other than from those who loved the first one. In my imagination, book two may sell better after the trilogy concludes. With this thought, could a summer release for book two serve just as well? That would help spread things out around the year. Am I selling the second book of a trilogy short?

• Could a blog tour with two or more books on the same tour have any benefit? This would cut down the number of promo posts, but each title would have to share stops along the tour. Is there a way to use pre-release sales in this scheme? You can have one book right now, and the other will be delivered in 60 days?

• Does the crack dealer method still work? Meaning does a giveaway for book one help move sales for book two or three? It used to work, but has that also changed?

Personally, I don’t like the idea of giving my work away. If $2.99 is going to break someone’s budget, they’d be better of paying the power bill. I have to admit, there might be a strategic advantage to some freebies. There used to be one, but things change so fast I don’t know anymore.

As far as titles that could serve as the gateway drug to my writing, The Playground kind of leads to Viral Blues. The Hat leads to Viral Blues and any other book in the series. Serang and Voyage of the Lanternfish could serve the same purpose for the Lanternfish trilogy. Honestly, 2020 might be too soon for this concept, but I’m open to suggestions if you have them.

I want to keep blogging two to three times per week. Yeah, it’s a place to talk about my work, but it serves its own purpose, too. I like chatting with you guys. I’m not afraid to talk about my writing efforts, but sometimes you get bulldogs, sourdough bread, camping trips and other things that add a bit of quality to life.

Otto is helping Dad today.

Story Empire has been a good thing for me, too. It challenges me to come up with appropriate topics, and while I don’t always pull it off, I come fairly close to the mark. I don’t know how much more I have to share there, but there are always new writers coming along, so revamping some things might be possible. That usually takes me a couple of times per month, so I’ll be seeing many of you over there during 2020.

These are ambitious goals, but they are within reach. I might not hit all of them, but I intend to give it my best effort. I hope you guys will come along for the ride. Do you ever make a business plan for the year?

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I took this cool photo

I had a lunch meeting today. I usually don’t see the sun this time of year, because of how my commute is timed. Aside from the window in my office, it’s usually the darkness for me.

However, as I left the building, there is this decorative pond which is also a drainage site for the building. It froze, then the water level dropped. I thought it looked like a topographic map, others in my office thought it looked like an agate.

It was worthy of a photo, so I snapped one.

It was so cool, I cropped one side, then used as blog wallpaper. The stones are kind of cool in it, too. What do you think?

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Something Wicked: The Colony Series

Welcome to another day of the Story Empire, Something Wicked blog tour. Today it’s my pleasure to host Harmony Kent and her Colony Series.

Harmony is a big supporter of all authors, so make her feel welcome here today while it’s her turn to shine.

Hello everyone, Harmony here. Thanks for hosting me today, Craig! It’s great to visit with you and your readers to kick off my second stop on Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour. In keeping with the scary theme, I’d like to visit the world of Exxon, where settlers on a new planet discover they’re not alone …

The situation is desperate, and every decision could mean the difference between life and death. What would you be willing to do to survive?

After writing my latest novel, FALLOUT, I fell in love with the world of Exxon so much that I jumped straight into writing a brand new trilogy, The Colony Series. Here, we revisit Exxon 1 roughly 500 years after the Fallout and the crazy president. The population of all six Exxon planets find themselves struggling to survive in the worst over-crowding crisis in history. The desperate rush to find new planets to colonize means that corners are cut and proper checks are not made. Added to that, those in power failed completely to anticipate the lengths that a despairing and distraught population would be willing to go to so that they could ensure a place on the next mission.

 

What happens when your damaged ship lands on a lonely planet and the natives are not freindly?

About the Series:

Exodus

 

The situation is desperate, and every decision could mean the difference between life and death. What would you be willing to do to survive?

The year is 3570.

The Exxon system has become dangerously overcrowded. The conditions desperate.

Hurriedly, the Exxon Co puts together a mission to occupy and tame three newly discovered planets on the outer edges of settled space. Unfortunately, the company didn’t realise what people would be willing to do to secure a place on the mission. Neither could they predict just what the humans would find when they finally reached their destination.

Sabotage leaves Isla and her team in a bad fix. And when they nurse the damaged ship to an unplanned-for planet and crash land, they soon discover they’re not alone.

With help at least ten months away, can the settlers survive this latest conflict?

 

If you enjoyed FALLOUT, you’ll love The Colony Series.

 

 

The Colony

In this second book of the series, the settlers make it to C3, only to find alien life on the planet.

The natives are not friendly.

The humans find themselves plunged into a brutal fight for survival.

Meanwhile, the sabotage and in-fighting that broke out on-board ship in Exodus is far from over.

Is this the end for the settlers?

 

 

 

 

Upheaval

In this third book of the series, it’s a new team and new times with new agendas.

The replacement leadership breaks the tenuous peace agreement so arduously fought for in The Colony. Canlore is thrown into war once more.

The relief ship was supposed to bring deliverance. Instead, all it brought was more politics and change.

Can anyone make it through the upheaval?

 

 

 

 

 

To get a notification when this series goes on sale, please follow Harmony’s Amazon Author Page.

_______________________________________________

About Harmony:

After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.

Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour, adorable husband, and quirky neighbours.

Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors.

 

 

To Learn More About Harmony Check Out:

Website|Story Empire (co-authored) |Amazon Author Page |

Twitter | LinkedIn | Goodreads | BookBub |

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Wednesday author chores

Today is my flex day again. I really want to be working on a couple of manuscripts, but I have other duties to attend to.

I started off with Lisa Burton Radio. I have two authors who are looking for a bit of promo, so I wanted to get their shticks out the door. I spent a couple of hours on those, then shipped them out. One of them already returned his, and while I’m tempted to work on it again, I’ll probably put it off for a couple of days.

Viral Blues got its first review, and it’s outstanding. Things like this make me glad to know that someone had a good time with the story.

I need to tour this book around, so I spent some time writing tour posts. I have a bunch more to write, but can only do so much in one sitting. Three of them were shipped out, and that’s a reasonable start.

Additionally, I received a post that I’m going to host, then assembled and scheduled it. This is part of the Something Wicked tour the Story Empire authors are going on. This is going to be a fun group event, so I hope you guys will come along. I’m including Something Wicked as part of the tour for Viral Blues.

As I catch up with the tour posts, I may put the touch of a few of you to host something. I’m a couple of weeks away from that, but working that direction.

I think the sidebar is up to date now.

Yak Guy has moved out of the spotlight. You can still find him by visiting my Amazon page, along with all my other books. I added Viral Blues to the carousel, and gave it Yak Guy’s premier real estate. If you click on the larger covers, they go directly to those books.

All in all, it was a productive day. No new fiction, but there are other tasks an author has to attend to.

Old What’s Her Face is home now, so productivity is coming to an end. It’s time to enjoy a few hours like other people do with a day off.

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A whole bunch of stuff

The weekend is upon me and I need to figure out what to do with it. This is my two day weekend, so I’m not planning any new fiction, not a single word.

I scrambled to come up with my next Story Empire post, and already have it scheduled for Monday. Then I found out I’m not only up Monday, I’m up Friday, too. This means I have to write and schedule one more. I ought to be able to handle this easily enough.

I also need to schedule a couple of promotional posts to go with my weekly theme. These are kind of fun, because I get to sift through a lot of fun music videos.

While I’m on the topic of blogging, I’ve seen something interesting in my stats again. I’m getting a bunch of weird searches leading to my blog. Sexually weird searches. I really have no idea why Google, or Bing, or whatever leads them here, but I have a message for them. “Hey you perverts! While you’re here…

Lisa Burton

Seriously, dudes, Lisa is about the most exciting thing you’re going to find here, so this image is for you. I suggest reading Yak Guy, it might actually help you with your lives.

Aside from blogging, I need to save a couple of files on the Mac. These are completely formatted manuscripts, and I can’t put them in a folder on this iPad. I usually save them to the Mac’s home screen so they’re easy to publish or email out. I plan on signing up for NetGalley again, and they’re just easier to send out that way.

I also need to contact the promoter I’ve used in the past. Like all things in the book world, they have a schedule, so if I want promo in October I need to contact them before October.

There is a folder in my email right now about a promo I’ve already signed up for. My goal is to fill out the form to the best of my ability, then send it back. I’ll have to send the purchase link after I actually have one. Fortunately, I’m on good terms with this host, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

If there is any time left, I’ll sort thought my victim volunteer list and figure out how many promotional blog posts I can write ahead of time.

Aside from that, I have one more critique of HMS Lanternfish to address. It isn’t super important, but if the hours are available I’ll deal with it. That ought to make a full weekend.

Next weekend isn’t looking super productive either, even though I get three days. It’s fair time, and we always go to the fair at least once. Sometimes author projects take a back seat. The thing is, that I don’t feel bad about it this time. I’ve been super productive this year and some family time has been well earned.

Wishing all of you a great weekend.

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Make a plan, work the plan

This post poses a conundrum for me, because it could fit into Story Empire, too. It winds up here, because it’s partially about my vacation plans. This one is another stay-cation for me. I want to write and just get some down time.

I’ve gotten to a place in writing where I can get a lot done, and there are a few tricks involved. These take time to farm, but harvesting them really speeds things up. First, I have about six storyboards going at all times. This doesn’t leave me pondering what I might write next. This is a common problem among fiction writers. Think of this like a farm, because it’s a long term project. Some boards are complete, others are partially complete, and some are just a collection of loose notes on index cards. Whenever a decent idea hits me, I make an index card and add it to the appropriate board. (Or start a new one.) Today, when I finish one project, I can dive right into the next one.

Next is my Pinterest app. I don’t know too many authors who use Pinterest, because all of the focus is on promotion. I don’t tend to use it like that. I have character boards, setting boards, and more specific ones like Pirates, or The Hat. When I surf through them, I get a lot of inspiration for my stories. It’s nice to refer to when describing a visual aspect of a tale.

Third is my new concept of more than one story at a time. I’m learning that it’s possible, and super productive. My current theory is to make them very different stories. Character traits don’t seem to bleed over this way, and character arcs don’t get muddled because the stories are so different.

My vacation starts tomorrow, and won’t return me to the office until next Thursday. Now I need some kind of plan.

  • I need to cut down a significant portion of my peach tree. This isn’t productive on the writing front, but works well on the staying married front.
  • Hauling the tree residue away has to be part of this mix, and is a chore in itself.
  • I need to buy and read one book. This one is a short read, and ought to work well for me. Then there are reviews to post on multiple fronts, too. Copy and paste helps here.
  • HMS Lanternfish hasn’t even set sail yet. It’s time to stock her with pirates and supplies, then hit the open sea. I’d love to get 30,000 words down, but 20K might be more realistic.
  • I need to get some blog posts written for The Viral Blues. It will be release time before I know it, and I want to be ready. Might hit up some of my favorite hosts to check their availability during my break, too.
  • There is a loose plan for some group promo at Story Empire. I need to dedicate some thought to that, and see what kind of posts I might need.
  • I have the formatted manuscript for Viral Blues in hand. I need to check it on every program I have. Stories about Lizzie and the hat have a few silly graphics as part of the shtick. These can be a nightmare formatting wise. Again, I want to be ready. I won’t know for sure until I push it through Amazon’s machinery, but any errors I can identify now will make that part easier.
  • Blurb writing. (La la la. I can’t hear you.)

I’m probably leaving stuff out, but that’s how it goes sometimes. I’m hoping to take full advantage of the Halloween season for Viral Blues. I’m still waiting on a couple of Lisa Burton promo posters, and should have the last ones in time. This means the easy link for The Yak Guy Project will be replaced by one for Viral Blues. If you haven’t read Yak Guy, all you have to do is click that cover image in the sidebar. He’ll live forever on Amazon, but you’ll have to go looking for him.

I’m still considering a pre-release for Viral Blues. My results with these have been mixed. What is the current consensus with you guys? Do pre-release books gain your attention, or just annoy you?

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Working on the other stuff

It’s another zero writing of new fiction weekend for me. There are a lot of reasons, and I’m not going to complain about them here. It seems my only option for writing time is to leave the house and go somewhere quiet. I hate the idea of being away from my coffee pot and bathroom for that long, but it could be possible.

I may get a couple of hours next week some time. If I do, I’ll try to make the best of them.

Sprinklers needed some work around here too. I am not a tool guy and never have been. My talents lie elsewhere. I’ve done everything I can, and it’s time to bring in an expert. If I can set things up for after payday it would be perfect. I’m trying to preserve enough money for a work trip to Lewiston.

I can take advantage of continental breakfast at my hotel, and there is a lunch provided one day. I’m still going to need enough gasoline to get home, so I’m trying to be conservative.

Today I tried to work ahead on Story Empire posts. My series on story structure ends Monday, so I hope you’ll all show up. I’ll have to remember to add the back links to the older posts in the series.

I decided to add some expansion packs in my next few posts over there. You know how popular video games sometimes release an expansion pack, that’s the term I’m stealing. The first one will be about fairytale structure. I have it roughed out, and a couple of weeks to polish it up.

There are at least two others I want to include in future posts. They work in conjunction with the hero’s journey, or whatever other structure you might be using. They aren’t required, but could enhance your story. That’s why I’m calling them expansion packs.

I may work ahead on them tomorrow too. That way I feel like I’m being productive, even if it isn’t what I want to be working on. Sometimes working ahead helps clear my slate so I can get more done when I finally score a good writing day.

Tickets to see the new Avengers movie tomorrow. Hope all of you are having a great weekend.

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