Tag Archives: advertising

2019, I’m calling it a success

I always try to do a year end assessment this time of year, then follow it up with a business plan in the new year. This is the assessment post.

My goals for 2019 were to step back from social media a bit and to explore sequels in my stories. In this, I was successful. I used to make custom tweets and make time to share them, make the occasional post on all the other formats out there, but honestly, they accomplish nothing. I keep these formats, and this blog auto-feeds to them, but the main goal is to point people here.

Currently, social media is for my own entertainment, but I try to share favors. Meaning, if someone tweets about my books, I try to follow and share their pinned tweet. I like finding out about all the baseball trades, bulldog pictures, and simple stuff on Facebook, but that’s about all it’s good for. I joined a big group event on Facebook that was promoted like an online trade show. It was a total failure, and I won’t make that mistake again.

I stopped paying for Facebook ads and Amazon ads last year. They never really did much, and the last few times they did nothing. My promotional efforts these days are in the form of blog tours, and a promotion company. Even then, I don’t always hire the promo firm.

When I released The Hat, the promo company really paid off. I got a bunch of early reviews, and sales were great. Things really tapered off after that. I used them for Viral Blues this year, and got one review from the NetGalley portion of the bundle.

As far as exploring sequels and series work, I count it as a major success. Success means different things to different people, so some explanation is in order. I’ll include covers and links, but I’m skipping the blurbs. This isn’t about promo, but assessment.

The first thing I published was Voyage of the Lanternfish. This is a crazy pirate fantasy with magic, monsters, and gunpowder. I’ve heard the term Flintlock Fantasy thrown around, and that might be a reasonable description.

It’s important to note this is not a sequel to anything. It’s the original book in what is destined to become a series. I published it on New Year’s Day, so it counts as 2019.

This book sold fairly well, and the comments I got on it led me to the trilogy idea. Reviews are lagging, so I’m a bit concerned.

Something else came up in a lot of the discussion. Two characters clicked with people, and they came up a lot. One isn’t so much a character as a collection of root monsters. I count them as one, because they function in swarm capacity during the action scenes. In my mind, they were just a bit of silliness to fill in the corners while Lanternfish was on a long sea voyage. Kind of like how Scrat fills out the edges of the Ice Age films. However, people loved them. I even had one ask for a root monster stand-alone book.

I don’t see that happening, because some of my over-the-top characters are better in small doses. A little is wonderful, too much can lead to brain damage.

Once I decided this could fit the classic trilogy format, I panicked a little. It would take at least a year to produce the next volume, and likely more than that. How am I going to keep fans interested during that time? This is where the other standout character came into play.

Lanternfish is set in a fantasy environment, mostly because I want to avoid comparison with Pirates of the Caribbean. There are some parallels to real world places, and it isn’t hard to understand that Serang is from pseudo-China. Her character, and this part of the world, made it easy to write her story.

Serang was raised by monks, then fled the country to become a pirate – kind of. This is a stand alone title, but it supports the Lanternfish environment. My hope is that Lanternfish fans will learn more about Serang by reading her book, and that it will tide them over until HMS Lanternfish is ready in 2020.

There is also a chance that people will read Serang first, then follow her into the Lanternfish stories.

Honestly, I dropped the ball on promotion of Serang. I released her story about 60 days after Viral Blues, and did an extensive tour for it. (More on that later.) When Serang published, I worried about my regulars suffering from tour fatigue. I took her on tour, but cut it short as a business decision. I also did not use the promo company for her story.

As of this writing, she only has four reviews on Amazon. This is partially because Amazon won’t let some people post reviews. They can still post on BookBub and Goodreads, and she’s doing better there. It seems odd to me, because these people review a mountain of books. It isn’t like they’re all shills for C. S. Boyack, but there’s nothing any of us can do about it.

I think she deserves better, and all of the reviews have been glowing.

The third book was a true sequel. My first one. It’s called Viral Blues, and is the follow up story to The Hat. The Hat sold incredibly well, and is the best reviewed book I have. Because of this, I thought Viral Blues would do better than it did. I paid the promo company for this story, and pushed the hell out of it around the Halloween season. It did well, but maybe I expected too much.

Lizzie and The Hat are back, but so are a bunch of old favorite characters. I’ve gotten some nice comments about Lisa Burton returning to a story, and admit she’s kind of a scene stealer at times. I’ve also gotten some great comments on Clovis. Both of these characters came with existing fans, so it was fun putting them in a new tale. Lizzie and The Hat carry the story, but it’s kind of like a superhero team-up.

I doubt there will ever be another story like Viral Blues, but it was a blast to create it. Lizzie and The Hat will go on, but it will be in their own adventures. These stories are paranormal with a lot of dark humor and snark.

I don’t want to jump ahead to my Business Plan, but I have some fun ideas for Lizzie and The Hat.

My goals for the two series are different. When it comes to Lanternfish, a trilogy almost demands prerequisite reading to carry on with the story. Stories about The Hat, can be read as stand-alone volumes with more available if you enjoyed the one you picked.

My Story Empire friends helped me scratch out some branding ideas for the series. With Lanternfish, there is no mistaking that figurehead. If it appears on all the covers, that should be good enough. When it comes to The Hat, I commissioned a small badge I can include on all the subsequent tales. It’s Lizzie playing her upright bass. It’s just a small icon that will let readers know it’s part of the series.

When it comes to the other parts of writing, some things changed. With three publications, they almost had to. Writing all those tour posts takes time, even if they are excerpts. All of my tour posts are unique, so I don’t wear people out when I run out a new story.

***

I didn’t return to blog posts about the writing cabin until late Autumn. This was a mistake. It’s easier to blog about what I’ve been doing than it is to fictionalize the same information and converse with Lisa. However, my stats clearly demonstrate that readers prefer interaction with Lisa.

I didn’t post as many Idea Mill posts this year, and they performed well. I need to step it up on that front. All of us need ideas for our stories, and sharing the oddball things I stumble across is kind of fun.

I also skipped Macabre Macaroni this year. I was neck deep in promotion for Viral Blues during October, and didn’t have time to write scary micro-fiction for the blog. Honestly, it passed without much notice. It’s one of those things people love when it appears, but don’t seem to miss if it doesn’t. No idea what to think about this.

Lisa Burton Radio slipped a bit, too, but that was on purpose.  Here’s a bit of my thought process. Feel free to disagree with me, but I’m just being frank. As an author, I know how hard it is to find good free promotion. Even then, there is only so much you can do. Talk about your main character, maybe your antagonist, plot. Sometimes share an excerpt.

I created something unique, in that Lisa interviews the character of your choice. It’s different enough to draw attention, and they are always popular posts. I started out asking people to give me a chance. I even advertised on various sites to get guests. I wound up posting weekly without much gap for two years. We moved some books, too.

However, there is a downside. They take a lot of work to put together. This is a collaborative effort, and it eats into my time. Many times, the guest author never even shows up, or publishes one comment to the group in passing. These posts work when the author pushes the hell out of them. I have one guest who still tweets out his older post from a year ago. That’s how it’s done.

Lisa Burton Radio is still available upon request. I’m not begging for guests any more. It’s a choice slot, and you get out what you put into it. I’m using the time I gained to write my next book. If you’re interested, Lisa will be happy to talk with your character.

To close the year out, I did something I swore I’d never do again. I held some Amazon free days for one of my books. The Playground is an older title, but several characters from this book made an appearance in Viral Blues. It also has a loose Christmas theme behind it. Honestly, we moved a crap-ton of books. My stats even showed it reaching single digits on one of the categories. I could call it a best seller at 100, so at number 9 I was kind of impressed. What I’d like to see as fallout are people following Clovis and/or Gina over to Viral Blues. A few reviews would be nice, too.

It isn’t lost on me that Serang, Voyage of the Lanternfish, and The Hat could make timely free books when the sequels are ready for publication. Watching the fallout from my Playground promo closely to figure this out.

Obviously, there is more to life than my author career, but this is a writing blog. My life has health issues, pets, relationships, and a 40 hour-per-week job, too. This post is an assessment of my 2019 success and fumbles as an author. My goal has always been to entertain people for a few hours. It’s even the name of the blog. With that in mind, I think 2019 goes in the win column.

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Life goes on

While I was touring my book around, the world didn’t stop spinning around here. I worked, and we had some unusual visitors at the office. This little guy was photographed from my office window.

He didn’t stay long, but it was fun having him stop by. We also had this visitor, and it’s appropriate for the season.

My iPhone makes it tough to photograph something so tiny, but you can make out his little bat ears at the bottom of the image. He’s only about the size of a walnut, but it was cool seeing him.

In other news, I got the sprinkler system blown out. Old What’s Her Face is on her way home, and we have an appointment to get the camper winterized tomorrow. It seems like winter is determined to show up, so we need to get ready.

I finished reading a book and posted a review. I try to review whatever I read. I look at it like a karma kind of thing. Authors need reviews, so I ought to post them, too. I’ll probably start reading another one before my vacation ends.

New fiction is still taking a back seat. I haven’t written a new word in a month. I’m struggling with the production vs the promotion cycle. I love creating new stories, but hate the promotion part. Honestly, I don’t like getting promotion stuff either, so I assume many people are like me. (Maybe you aren’t, but that’s my mindset right now.)

The questions I’m struggling with are:

  • Should I just bury some of the stories I write? Publish the series work, and keep the stand alone things for myself.
  • What about blog only? I know some who’ve done this, but have no idea what kind of reception it gets. Is it appropriate to release a few chapters over a period of months, then publish, thereby, skipping any blog tour and such? Does this piss people off more?
  • Should I publish them with zero promotion? I know how that works out, but workmanlike promo for every other story could still draw attention.
  • I’ve learned how to write an incredible amount of new fiction. Should I go back to my old ways and produce less?
  • Would it be worthwhile to hold stories, then do a multiple book release with mutual promotion?

I’m interested in what you guys think, so speak up. Do you have any experience with these methods?

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2019 Business Plan

I skip the whole New Years resolutions thing. If you enjoy it, have at it. What I like to do is outline my plan for the upcoming year. I’ve been known to look back at it here and there to see how I’m doing.

Last year, I pledged not to take on yet another social media platform. I signed up for Book Bub anyway. I like it as a presence for my books. It doesn’t require a lot of my time, and it gives me a nice place to post reviews of the books I read. I’ve transferred over a bunch of old reviews I wrote for people who are also there. I see they’ve done the same thing for me. Technically, there isn’t really a social aspect to it, but I put it in the same category.

Google Plus announced they are going away, and they won’t really be missed. About all I did with it was autofeed my blog there. I monkeyed with it for a few months, but never enjoyed it, or found any value.

The point is that social media has only produced minimal sales for me. I never really noticed a difference in my bottom line. Some of my author friends are even quitting Facebook now. I like the occasional Far Side cartoon, or bulldog video, so I’ll keep mine. With their advertising changing so frequently, it’s become kind of worthless for book promo.

Pinterest I really enjoy. Not for promotional purposes, but for ideas. I have images to inspire characters, paranormal art, science fiction, all kinds of things. I’ll keep my presence there, but for different reasons. It’s nice to forward a few images to my artist when I want a book cover or a new Lisa Burton poster.

Last year, I decided that my best promotional tool was to write my next book. Voyage of the Lanternfish is available as of a few hours ago. This is a pirate fantasy, with all the black magic and monsters you might expect in one of my stories.

I lost my critique group in 2016, then started relying upon beta readers. I like this process, but you have to find people who are willing to kick your butt. (Behind the scenes, of course.) In 2018, I lost my beta readers. This was devastating, but the end result was good.

I’m now part of a new critique group. While there is a difference between critique and beta, they both serve somewhat the same purpose. As a bonus, I get to hang out with a very talented bunch of people who are willing to kick my butt when I need it. (Behind the scenes, of course.)

These people have all written series, and are encouraging me to do the same. My own reading preference is for stand alone books, but I admit to enjoying a series on occasion. I understand the drill, hook them with the first one, then sell them additional stories in the same environment.

I’m still up in the air about writing stories where a previous book is a prerequisite. If I can pull it off, I would like any subsequent stories to be enjoyable even if you haven’t read the previous book. Honestly, I haven’t written a book where someone didn’t mention interest in a sequel.

Having said this, 2019 is going to be my year of the sequel, and possibly the prequel. I intend to write at least one more book in the Lanternfish environment, plus a prequel for one of the supporting characters.

In addition to all that, Lizzie and The Hat are going to make a return. The Hat is my most popular title, and I have multiple ideas that would be fun to explore. One at a time though, and with some dependence on whether the next one is popular too. The next one promises to bring back a few other old friends, and I’ve already started writing it.

That’s a big list, but I may be able to release three titles in 2019. Things would have to fall into place, but it could happen.

In a perfect world, I’d be about to start that cyberpunk novel I’ve been talking about for a couple of years. This one is intended to be a stand alone title. It went on the back-burner again, because I really need to explore the advantage of sequels.

Finances are a big concern. Book covers and promotional art are one thing, but advertising is getting expensive too. I would like to hire a promo company at least during the time around the book’s release. This is a push on multiple fronts in addition to any blog tours I might set up.

My mentality is to bounce around a lot. When I read, I change genres with every title, and I like that. When I write, I do the same thing. I’m starting to realize that many people are not like me. An author sparks their imagination with either a character or world building, and they want more. I intend to deliver some of that in 2019.

I’ve bounced around with promotions in much the same way. It all becomes somewhat like Whack-A-Mole after a while. My blog will remain my main focus, it will auto feed to other sites, but if you really want me you can find me here.

It’s all kind of calming to make these decisions. My focus will be on production of good fiction. There will be blog tours to help promote, and even some new Lisa Burton posters. I’m not going to spend time making graphics for Twitter, or figuring out how often to make Facebook posts about my stories.

I hope your 2019 is productive, positive, and enjoyable. I think mine will be too.

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Exposing your work, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Hi, all, and welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. This week is a special edition, because it’s geared to all you authors out there. It might give some good ideas to bloggers who want to host guests too.

Today, I’ve collected a group of power bloggers who host authors on their sites. This gives an author a way to reach a larger audience than they might if they were simply posting about date-night or something. This means when you have a new book to promote, or maybe to give an older title a secondary push.

We’re going to start by addressing the three-hundred-pound gorilla in the room, and I mean that literally. Chris The Storyreading Ape, hosts one of the largest author blogs around. “Did you get my fruit basket, Chris?”

“Yes I did thanks, Lisa – very thoughtful of you to use edible leaves to weave the basket, so I didn’t miss out on my veggies, which help keep me at my physical peak.”

“So Chris, do you have a regular scheduled slot for authors, or do you take them piecemeal? While you’re at it, give our listeners a bit about what it takes to get into the Author’s Hall of Fame, and what benefit that brings.

“I have a prime post slot at 01:00 am, London, UK time, every day, which I use to give priority to author articles, except Mondays (reserved for my weekly Monday Funnies).

“Regards how to get articles onto my blog, see the following link for authors seeking to get into my Authors Hall of Fame: https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/contact-me/if-you-are-not-already-in-my-authors-hall-of-fame/

“For authors already in my HoF, but would like to submit further articles, or run book promos, use this link: https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/contact-me/if-you-are-already-in-my-authors-hall-of-fame/

“The main benefit is getting yourself, as a person, not just an author, in front of my blog followers, but also in front of my other media followers as well, on Twitter, two Facebook Pages, Tumblr blog, LinkedIn, etc, including a my Flipboard Authors Hall of Fame Magazine.

“Some of my other blogger/author friends often reblog author articles, which spreads your fame even further.

“The big plus is, it’s free publicity.”

“That’s a great point, Chris. These promos are all free. My own author operates on a shoestring, and I know others do too. With all the reblogs, social media sharing, and more, you could put your work in front of a hundred-thousand potential readers. Then it’s up to you to sell yourself.

“My next guest is Colleen Chesebro. She is an author and poet herself, and hosts authors on her blog. She also offers up a weekly book review. Colleen, you have a neat way of doing these interviews with your list of questions. Tell us about that, please.”

“Hi, Lisa. I thought long and hard about what I could do to help to promote other authors. Then, it occurred to me how hard it’s been for me to learn the art of writing and publishing. So, I thought the idea of using questions and answers would be the perfect way to learn from other author’s experiences.

“I made a huge list because everyone is different in their style of writing. Also, I didn’t want everyone to choose the same questions. I even added some unusual questions, like: “As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?” I was surprised at how many authors have included this question in their interviews.

“The response has been overwhelming, partly because the author has the opportunity to choose what they want to write about. It’s free promotion to share their books, their writing style, and for my readers to learn a few intimate details of the lives of people they know only through blogging and writing.”

“Sounds great! How do authors sign up?”

“The authors can choose from my massive list of questions and by following the instructions HERE. If you’re interested in booking an interview, make sure to read the instructions carefully. My contact information is found in the link.

Conversations with Colleen is a weekly feature held each Wednesday on colleenchesebro.com. I also share these posts on social media. Currently, I’m scheduled through January 2019 and have interview slots available starting in February 2019. If you have a blog, I’m happy to interview you!”

“I’d better have a word with Craig. If he’s going to have a January book release he needs to start contacting you guys.

“All that social media sharing brings me to my next point. Authors tend to get out of the visit what they put in to the visit. I have some who never even show up and comment on the post. I have others who share it everywhere, and even a few that reblog it sporadically for months. I look at the stats, and I know which posts perform better.

“My next guest is Sally Cronin, and she offers several options, including the Cafe and Bookstore. She offers kind of a unique double hit for her guests, fill us all in Sally.”

“Thanks for inviting me along to join these stars of our blogging community Lisa, and I include you very much in that, as your interviews with characters of author’s books, is a creative way to showcase others. We do need to think outside the box when promoting ourselves and others, and the more zany the better. For example, as well as Colleen Chesebro’s Conversations she also entices us in with a Poetry Challenge which is a great way to promote your blog and books. Annette Rochelle Aben who is one of your hosts has a radio podcast – Where the Magic Happens, that both your author and myself have been guests on. The Story Reading Ape was ahead of the game with his Hall of Fame and we consider him the king of this particular jungle.

“You make an excellent point about guests and their level of participation. I often get requests from authors to feature them in the Café and Bookstore, and like you, I spend quite a bit of time putting the post together and promoting it across social media. I do clearly request that the author share across their own networks and also respond individually to those who have taken the time to respond but on a few occasions there is no interaction at all. More than anything the author is not getting the best out of the promotion and is certainly not leaving a good impression with potential readers.”

“Where did you get the idea of the Café and Bookstore which is your primary author promotion and tell us about how you extend the life of the posts?”

“After about two years of blogging, and promoting authors I began to lose track of authors I had showcased, their books and reviews. I put together an alphabetical list of writers and added the Amazon link to buy books, the author’s website, up to seven covers and the most recent review for one of their books. I now have a platform where I can add new authors, keep track of new releases and reviews. In addition I can share the whole bookstore on social media on a regular basis to encourage readers to browse. You can find out how to join the other 150 + authors on the shelves of the bookstore and on the Café and Bookstore page.

“I re-share all posts in my weekly round up on Sundays and this includes the author promotions with a cover and link to their promotion. The round up is one of the busiest posts of the week, and because I post a great deal, many readers pop in on Sunday and visit the posts that they missed. There are thousands of posts published each week, just in the circles we all move within, and it is easy to miss several. I recommend that if anyone posts more than a few times a week that they think about a round up post.”

“Is there anything else you can recommend to authors that will help them promote their work?”

“Despite all the advice out there on book marketing, and about the dangers of over self-promotion, there are still people who bombard us with posts and comments about their own work to the exclusion of others. It simply does not work. You have to remember that the majority of our followers are writers and this means that they are also usually avid readers. They quickly lose interest if the only posts and comments you make are about your books. They won’t buy them, read them or promote them. If you want to build yourself a platform to promote your work, share it with the work of others and see how it flourishes.”

“That’s a good point too, thanks Sally. You can’t post exclusively about your own book. People will turn a deaf ear, and eventually you’ll lose all the followers you worked so hard to gain.

“My next guest offers something very different. Her name is Annette Rochelle Aben, and she offers a podcast. Honestly, Craig just did one of these interviews and said it was a piece of cake. He was worried about saying just the right thing, but it was more like talking with an old friend.

“Annette, tell our listeners how they can take advantage of your podcast and spread the word even further.”

“Reach out, let me know you would like to do a podcast with me and we will send your message out to a world-wide audience.”

“I check Craig’s stats, and I can see how the interviews perform. Do you ever do anything like that?”

“Our tech people give us statistic updates on a monthly basis. Each month those stats increase and for the first ten months of 2018, we had over 5 million hits on the magazine site. This means, over 5 million opportunities for people to hear what you have to say.”

“And how can our listeners contact you?”

“They can contact me through my website, or through the magazine.”

“My next guest is Sue Vincent, whose blog is called the Daily Echo. Sue does something pretty cool in that she also hosts artists and photographers. What this means to an author is her crowd might not be the same crowd you get in other places. Promotion is all about reaching many people, so this can work to your advantage. Welcome, Sue.”

“Hi Lisa, I have to say that this get together is a great idea, although the Small Dog seems to feel that if Apes get fruit baskets, she should have a dog basket. Even the dog runs an open invitation through December for guests to take part in Ani’s Advent calendar. Maybe you could ask Craig if his canine friends would care to come over? The Ape has already agreed to take part.

“I agree with the rest of the party… as a writer, you want to be read, but it’s no good constantly shouting ‘buy my book’…you need to let readers get to know you as a person. Share your passion.  My own blog is eclectic, with most book-related posts on a separate author site. And all the promotion listed here is free and has a potential reach of hundreds of thousands worldwide. While I am happy to host book launches and blog tours, I do keep a daily spot for guest posts, open to writers, artists, musicians and photographers… and bloggers are writers too. Then there is the whole ‘target audience’ thing, and for that I host Living Lore posts with a theme of folklore, myth and legend, and the Elusive Realities spot for true stories of strange personal experiences. Many people have a story to share…and I like sharing.

“I feel I should mention writing challenges too. Colleen runs a weekly poetry challenge, I run a photo prompt every Thursday. We link to every entry, giving extra exposure to writers, I share many of the entries on my blog, and have an open invitation to regulars to come and introduce themselves as my guest. And with all this possible free promo, I seldom have a guest every day! It is easy enough, all I need is a post, links and pics and I’ll do the rest. And neither the Small Dog nor I bite 😉 I am easy to contact through the blog, or by email at findme@scvincent.com.”

“That is a ton of promotional opportunity, Sue. Thanks to you, and all my guests today for participating.

“Looks like it falls to me to wrap it all up. Lisa Burton Radio is here to interview your fictional characters. I rarely interview actual people or – you know, apes. Getting your character on the show is as easy as sending an email to coldhand.boyack@gmail.com.

“Think about all the ways you can expose your work, and none of it costs a dime. They are all unique, and would make a nice blog tour if you plan ahead. My own author has done exactly that several times.

“Since we’re supporting blog hosts today, I’m asking the authors out there to share this post far and wide. Use those sharing buttons, reblog the post. I’ll be adding it to Flipboard, Mix, and several others along with the big social media sites. You might even want to bookmark it for future reference.

“For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton. Now I’m heading to Amazon to find a doggie basket.”

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The Yak Guy Project, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you lost wanderers, and those without purpose. You’ve found Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you the characters from the books you love. Except for this week, that is.

This week you get me, talking about Craig’s book, The Yak Guy Project. I’ve run out of guests right now, and want to keep the slot open for everyone.

It’s okay though, I was there through the writing of this whole story. I can wing it enough to pull this off. As an example, see this poster.

It’s about this rotten kid, who leeches off his friends, and brings nothing to the table. At the beginning of the book he wakes up having been dumped in the desert. Guess people grew tired of his crap.

He gets rescued by a talking yak, but the whole thing is a setup. He’s been relocated to an alternate reality, and given a chance to start over. This means he has to learn some of the things he failed to learn the first time.

These lessons are pretty simple at their heart, but they aren’t easy. Many of them are a matter of life and death. More important are the lessons about understanding others.

Yak Guy has to learn all of this before he can be considered complete. He isn’t the center of the universe, and other people aren’t there to serve him.

Some of you might find it interesting that this story is based loosely around the Major Arcana of the Tarot. Understanding of this isn’t important to the story, but if you know something about the Tarot, you might enjoy spotting the characters and situations involved. As your first clue, Yak Guy is The Fool.

This book has been on kind of a slow burn, it sells, but slowly. Reviews are coming in, but slowly. Some books seem to do this, and there is no rhyme or reason to which one it will be. Maybe Craig released it too close to summer.

I have two issues for all of you today. First is to consider checking out The Yak Guy Project, because this is what we do on Lisa Burton Radio. I’m not going to add fancy links and cover art, because this broadcast will post to Craig’s blog after I go off the air. All you have to do is visit the sidebar and click on the cover art there.

My second pitch is for more guests. These interviews seem to be a feast or famine kind of deal. We either have too many guests to cover them all in a reasonable time, or not enough to keep the line moving. Some authors get tired of waiting and drop out. Usually this is after we’ve done all the work to get their interview ready.

This spot is for you to promote your wares. It’s been productive, because some of you dropped me lines and told me you moved copies on the day of the post. Some authors are sharing their interview on social media a year after we conducted it. You get out of it, what you put into it.

Drop me a line. Would one of your characters like to have an interview by the most awesome robot girl with her own radio show? Could your book use a bit of free promotion?

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Sick Day

My entire household has been under the weather this week.  All of us have used sick time, and it appears to be my turn now. I intended to update this site on Wednesday, but never got that far. It was supposed to be a cute post about partying too much with the old under-the-bed monster. Halloween is a distant memory tonight, so that ship has kind of sailed. By the time my commute ended, the game was already on, and I wasn’t up for blogging.

I managed to update the wallpaper for November. I snapped a photo of Old What’s Her Face’s maple tree in the front yard. The image is so big it kind of blurs along the edges of my site, but it looks artsy. Boise is ablaze with colors right now, and her tree is awesome.

Today is a good day for the fireplace, a cup of good tea, and complaining. Let’s complain.

Advertising

The radio ads on Sirius radio are worse than ever these days. There is one about getting help paying off credit card debt. It annoys me when they say you don’t have to pay it all back. The fact is you borrowed the money, you spent it, and you agreed to the terms of the loan. You get to keep the big-screen television, and they make it sound like a good thing that you don’t have to pay for it. What really chaps me is they say, “Don’t let the credit card companies trick you into thinking you have to pay it all back.” They even emphasize the word taaRICK to make the point. Nobody’s being tricked here. What they don’t tell you is that you are supposed to give them money to help you avoid paying a bill you owe. Bet they don’t take credit.

The other one is a mortgage lender who talks about a “yourgage.” Oh-my-God! That’s soooo cool, I’ll take out a loan against my house because yourgage sounds so much better than a mortgage. Getting a mortgage is a big deal, and it’s complicated. It should not be reduced to a click type app based upon snap decisions, and I don’t think they need some fake buzzword to make it sound better than what their competitors offer. Consumers really should shop around and even work up a budget themselves to see if they’re ready for this massive step.

Just throw the damned ball.

I’m excited for the Houston Astros. Last night they won their first ever World Series. It was a good series too, taking all seven games to decide the victor. It will never match 2001 in my mind, playing in New York the same year as the 911 attacks, oh and my Diamondbacks won. It doesn’t match the series from last year, or the bloody sock series, but it was pretty darned exciting. So where’s the gripe?

The gripe is in the length of the games. These guys start playing at seven or eight years old. They’ve played all their lives, including  the minors and major leagues. They’ve had access to the best coaching. They know this game. A batter steps out of the box to mess with the pitcher’s timing. Do you really think that’s going to do anything to Kershaw or Verlander? What it does is adds time to the game.

The pitcher then comes off the mound to talk to the catcher, but wait,  the entire infield has to come in too. Presumably, they’re talking about what to throw and the expected outcome. When he’s ready, they all go back to their positions, the catcher delivers his signs, the pitcher nods… and the batter steps out of the box again. This brings the pitching coach out of the dugout to talk to the entire infield once more, and the process starts all over again.

The guy delivers his pitch and then they replace the pitcher. Add fifteen minutes for the next guy to get ready, then repeat the whole process.

Just throw the friggin ball! This isn’t your first time on the mound. This isn’t the first situation you’ve ever seen. All of the position players have trained their entire lives for this.

When I was young, games used to last about two and a half hours. These games have been lasting six hours or more. I’m in the mountain time zone and one of them didn’t get over until midnight. Heaven forbid you’re an East Coast fan. “Sorry, son, you can’t watch the World Series, because your school bus will probably leave before the game ends.”

The regular season isn’t like this, but the playoffs always are. I understand there’s more on the line, but if you aren’t ready for it, maybe you shouldn’t be playing at this level. It isn’t going to get better until MLB does something about it. When it comes to baseball, I hate changes, but it’s time to act.

I probably have more, but my kettle is boiling and I need to get back to blowing my nose and figuring out what moved into my throat. 

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Welcome October

I love October. I've been bouncing around in cyberspace and may have said that a few other places. This month, I'm going to be hitting promotion hard. The last two weeks of September I had time to take on even more stuff. I spent it filling out forms, answering interview questions, etc.

I'm going to miss that September wallpaper though. Let's take one last look at Lisa goofing off with the rocket-pack before we retire it completely.

I found a cool image of bats flying in front of a full moon to use this month, but another of my blog friends is using the exact same image. How about some pumpkins. If I find something else, I may change it again.

I also went back to the Will O' the Wisp banner image for a while. That's an October story, and fits with the overall theme. If I find a cool monster, maybe I can shoehorn it into the Moai graphic somehow.

I filled out another interview sheet, and sent out a final proof for this week's Lisa Burton Radio before I decided to write this. Basically, I've been sending out excerpts, covers, reading copies and such for weeks.

Will it all work? I have no idea, but I intend to meet some new people this month. The basic idea is that I have three novels that might qualify as Halloween reading. There are plenty of similar tales in the Experimental Notebooks too. What better time to try promoting them than right now.

My friends at Story Empire are banding together to push all of our paranormal tales in a massive blog tour (or two). I'm almost certain to post about it, but might not do it until next weekend.

I need to write and schedule my Monday and Tuesday posts this weekend. If I get the Lisa Burton Radio stuff in time, I will use the scheduler for that too. My paycheck job is sending me to Coeur d'Alene for a week, and blogging time will be limited. The scheduler is wonderful under those circumstances.

That will leave Wednesday open, and I might be able to post some pictures from CDA or something.

Some of the best things about this kind of promotion are the hosts themselves. Not everyone is open to hosting an author. I try to reblog the posts as a way of supporting them. An enterprising author might visit them too, just to make the connection. It might even be worth adding a note or two to any living documents you keep about bloggers willing to host authors. Then when you need them, you'll have a starting place.

Most of this promotion stuff involves work in advance. After sending the kit out, all that remains is participating in the comments and sharing across social media. By hitting it hard in September, and the first parts of October, I may be able to coast a bit in the second half of the month.

It's still early yet, and I can take on a few more projects as long as they're small. If you need to fill slots on an October themed event, or are opening up some paranormal slots keep me in mind. I'm willing to return the favor and host people here too. My preferred method is Lisa Burton Radio, but I've hosted cover reveals and such too.

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Feels like old times again #amwriting

I raced through social media early this morning. I wanted to force myself to take up the keyboard once more.

This led to +/- 2000 new words on The Yak Guy project. Ted, the yak guy, finally gets to be with the girl of his dreams. I have a hard time writing these scenes, but I think it came out okay. (I’m one of those males who never got a lot of female attention. Therefore, I’ll just make it up.) The story is from Ted’s point of view, so it might not be as romantic as if it were from the woman’s viewpoint.

Next on the list, Ted has to second guess the whole thing, and wonder what it all means. Then he gets to meet her dad and get the crap beat out of him. By modern standards, I ought to have him getting beat up pretty fast. I kind of want to have him question everything though. This is a conundrum for me. My plan is to write it my way, and see if it needs to be eliminated later on.

I got two requests for a review copy of The Playground, and sent both of them out. (Booyah) I hope the reviewers enjoy it. It’s a little more gritty than my usual fare. Maybe the contrast between The Playground and yak guy’s love scene is causing a short in my brain.

I got asked why I didn’t set up the 99¢ sale for Wild Concept in the UK store. It’s because I didn’t know I had to. I thought it happened everywhere. Turns out those are the only markets available to hold a sale. If you’re completely out of those markets, let me know and I’ll find a way to fix you up. Does this mean I need to start using these things £ or €? Look, it’s a man in a top hat with a big mustache =):€

The sale starts in the UK sometime on the 28th. Then I returned to WhatsApp and let them know. There isn’t much point if I don’t say something about it. Thus, the mention here too.

I sent out another Lisa Burton Radio kit, and finalized another post for one of those spots. I have several partial posts out in cyber space, tomorrow’s is pre-scheduled, and another one nearly final. I’m feeling pretty good about this spot today. We have some fun characters coming up.

Then I got a cool request to write a guest post about how I started writing short stories. This one made me think, because it just kind of happened. I love it when someone asks a question that makes me assess something. I wrote about 800-900 words of blog post and sent it out too.

Finally, I picked up my art app and messed around with my banner some more. I’m really not an artist, but I can cut out and paste things. If it looks cheesy, I’m okay with that. I’m all about the cheese here at Entertaining Stories.

I love it when I have a productive day, and wish there were more like this one.

I should probably return to social media and promote the Wild Concept Sale, and The Playground. I feel like such a book whore, but I don’t see any other way to get the word out. I’ll probably address some of that this afternoon. I found a new place to do paid promotion, but I have to make my own artwork. It’s also kind of complicated to set up. I’ve been whining about it for weeks, and would probably do better to cobble something together and quit crying about it. Getting closer on this front.

Finally, today is my daughter’s birthday. She went to Sun Valley to party with friends, but is due home today. We have plans to go to dinner somewhere tonight. That will be fun too.

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Updatey Stuff

I noticed in my stats this morning that several people linked to Wild Concept sometime before I woke up. I'm not an expert on free days or 99¢ sales, but it appears they don't go live until about 9:00 AM, my time. You can get your copy for 99¢ now, so please try again. Here is the link. Tell your friends.

I'm not completely sure whether the sale extends beyond the USA, so if you have a problem, please let me know. I'll figure out something. I got it shared on the What'sApp room, called Books Down Low, and sold four copies right off the bat. Here's a tip even if you aren't a Rave Reviews member, search Twitter for #BooksDownLow. The promoted books are all free or 99¢, and there are some pretty good options.

Lisa is on a bit of a roll lately. I assembled and scheduled the next Lisa Burton Radio post for Thursday. This is going to be a fun one, so make sure you come back and check it out. (Who am I kidding, they're all fun.)

While I'm on the topic, you can also befriend Lisa on Facebook. She's pretty friendly, so make a new friend here.

Lisa kicks my butt in the popularity contest, but you can like my Entertaining Stories page too. I'm a tiny player on FB, but I'm trying to grow.

I think I bought into an advertising banner on Blog Talk Radio, through the Rave Reviews Book Club. I had a few questions, but I got an invoice instead. I paid it, and hope that's what it's for. I kind of hope they ask me what I want, but maybe that isn't how they're doing it. This will be an advertisement for The Playground.

That's about it for tonight. I'm looking forward to my rotating day off this week, Wednesday. Maybe I can actually get some writing done.

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The Rest of the Weekend

This weekend was kind of a bust… Again. I managed a mere 500 words of new fiction, but that's 500 more than I had before, and 500 more than last weekend.

We had date night at a cool restaurant where everything is about bacon. It's actually called Bacon in the daylight hours, but changes its name to Berryhill in the late afternoon. They even have different menus. Berryhill is still all about bacon, and there was bacon in the bread course, even infused in the butter. I really enjoyed my bacon lasagna serving. So I'm probably going to die from a bacon OD, but my body will be preserved for years. I'm also very happy.

My Amazon advertising isn't producing much for The Playground. It never costs much, and the exposure is huge. They don't seem to lead to many sales though.

I managed to move forward with two new episodes of Lisa Burton Radio today. They aren't finished yet, but there are some fun things coming up. I also paid for my next cluster of Lisa Burton artwork. I don't have a book coming out any time soon, but I need some general images to post on the blog.

I was recently awarded a Push Tuesday by the Rave Reviews Book Club. They chose to push Wild Concept, my oldest book. That isn't to say it's old, but the online world moves fast. It came out in February of 2014, I guess that makes Lisa two years old physically, but her database is much older than that.

RRBC started something new recently. They have a members only room on WhatsApp for us to promote and push our free and 99¢ books. My Experimental Notebook was pushed there too, and I sold copies. Experimental Notebook is always 99¢ though.

I kind of want to play in the WhatsApp room, so I'm holding a sale on Wild Concept. I haven't held a sale in about 18 months. For about five days, anyone – not just RRBC members – can get a copy of Wild Concept for 99¢. If I did it right, it will start tomorrow. Once it switches over, I can share it on WhatsApp too. I have to dig a little bit deeper, because they have a special hashtag to use on Twitter. This is so club members will support our sales, but it's a neat tip for readers too. If you follow that hashtag, you can find some great books for free or 99¢.

So let's talk about it. Wild Concept is Lisa Burton's origin story. It covers her journey from just a high tech piece of equipment to the Lisa we all know and love.

It covers her first job, chasing a killer for the Hudson PD, to her flight from the company that created her.

Her questionable decisions are here too. This includes her sometimes garish makeup she learned from YouTube videos, and tattoos so she would fit in with others.

It also addresses issues of prejudice. Some folks aren't too keen on the idea of robots in our society.

I don't expect this to be an overwhelming success. I've never had much luck with sales, and that's why I stopped doing them. On the other hand, I'm a pretty good club supporter, and want this experiment to succeed. If I did it correctly, the sale should start in the morning. You can get your copy of Wild Concept right here.

Finally, I sent out an advertising inquiry for The Playground. This involves sponsoring a blog talk radio show where others are talking about their books. I would get a banner and visual ad that could produce some sales. I like it, because it's different from everything else available out there.

For the rest of the evening, it's Game of Thrones, and a mug or two of a nice Bock beer from McCall Brewing. Okay, I'll probably check email to see if I can finalize those two radio posts, and check my baseball score. The game was all tied up in extra innings the last time I checked. But I'm doing it with a frosty mug in my hand, so it counts as relaxation.

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