Tag Archives: blog hosting

Looking at 2015

Many people post about New Year’s Resolutions, and WordPress will be flooded with them next weekend. I’ve always avoided that, but like to create a loose business plan. It’s hard to look ahead without looking back, so that’s what I’m doing today. This will probably not be one of my 300 word posts.

Last year about this time, I committed to getting new business cards, adding one new version of social media to my arsenal, and publishing two new novels.

I got and distributed the business cards. These were mostly left at various bulletin boards, or at the table in a restaurant somewhere. So far, I have no idea whether I’ve accomplished something or not. I know it can’t hurt, but I wish there were a way to track performance.

I signed up for Goodreads. I haven’t been overly impressed, but I’m probably not working it the way I should either. I think it’s “neat,” in that it provides another way for someone to discover my stories.

As far as the two novels go, that didn’t quite work out. I wrote two new novels, but only published Will O’ the Wisp. I learned by publishing Arson during the Summer that Summer is a bad time to release a book.

It’s a good idea to put a manuscript away for a while before editing it. I finished The Playground in May. To distract myself, I turned to short fiction. This short form stuff turned into the Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack. The plan changed when I decided to publish it.

Both Wisp and Notebook deserved some promotional effort, and The Playground took a back seat.

On a wild hair, I decided to make Lisa the robot girl into the spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories. Then I had to figure out what to do with her. I ordered some fresh blog art, and it was very well received. She got asked occasionally to make a guest appearance on various blogs, and these were always fun, because I had to write them in character.

When it came time to go on blog tours, I added Lisa to the mix when I pre-wrote my tour posts. Then I got the crazy idea of making posters about the books, featuring Lisa.

The little push I organized for Notebook was very well received, and the posters the hosts put up were quite popular. The paid promotions for Wisp were also popular, but I didn’t have a ton of extras made up.

I’ve been holding back posters for The Playground, featuring Lisa, for months. I’ll try to publish it sometime in late Winter of 2016.

I also had Sean make up some paper dolls of Lisa, simply because it’s hard for an ebook only author to hand out swag. The post announcing the paper dolls, and the page where they permanently reside were two of my most popular posts for 2015.

My intention was always to make this blog into ground zero for my self publishing efforts. That remains my intent. If you want to reach me, this is the best way unless I’ve given you my email address.

My growth rate for Entertaining Stories has always been slow, despite posting about five times per week. I simply accept it for what it is, and keep forging ahead. I seem to attract the kind of people who interact, and support my projects when I need them to, and I’m eternally grateful for that.

Part of the job involves supporting others when they need it. I’ve made my blog available for others, and some of those posts were very popular this year. Mae Clair recently pushed into my top ten posts of all time, so my readers appreciate meeting guests.

I’ve learned a bit about being a good host, and being a good guest. Being a good guest involves delivering what the host asks for. Many of my guest spots were custom written based upon the host’s request. Some of them were by Lisa, two were by Lorelei the Muse, and one asked me to bring the raven of doubt along. Aside from those character posts, I also appeared on various blog as myself this year.

Being a good guest also involves surfing back through the host site and participating in the comments. When someone responds directly to the host, it’s still okay to hit the like button. Many times they leave a comment for me, and I try to respond to every one of them. My habit is to return for three consecutive days.

Serving as a host is also important. A popular guest can drive blog traffic the other direction, and I gained followers by hosting others. It is expected for a host to write an intro, and even a final word to go along with the guest spot. If you’ve read and enjoyed someone’s book, it’s nice to say so before handing it over to the guest. It’s also important to set the site up to allow visitors to comment.

I appeared on two sites this year where I had to enter my email address, then manipulate a Captcha before I could answer a comment. I was lucky to even get the comment if that’s what the visitor had to go through.

I stepped up my game when it comes to re-blogging information my readers might like. One of the things I do is try to re-blog the source material. I’ve tried to read something that turned out to be a re-blog, then discover it links to another blogger who re-blogged the content. People aren’t going to go through all of that to read the source material. Re-blog maybe, re-re-blog never.

I try to keep Entertaining Stories looking fresh. I’m really going to miss the frozen hand, and the electronic snow falling across it looked great. I’m on the lookout for some good wallpaper for next month.

I didn’t even know what a “street team” was the first time I tried one. I’m a big believer in the power of a street team now. I’ll put out a call for The Playground soon, and try to get a team assembled for its release. It worked quite well for Will O’ the Wisp, and Experimental Notebook.

Some of the popular things (beyond Lisa the robot girl) were my party stop for the Rave Reviews Book Club, Macabre Macaroni, and The Idea Mill posts. It seems like a good idea to keep doing some of that in 2016.

My membership in the Rave Reviews Book Club continues to provide dividends. I became member of the week this fall, and got invited to appear on Blog Talk Radio. My Experimental Notebook was a President’s Pick.They support my efforts on Twitter, and that really helps too.

2015 turned out to be a good year. My sales increased, I made new friends, and I expanded my footprint. I plan on 2016 being even better, but that is a different post.

23 Comments

Filed under Blogging

Not quite a meltdown

In case you haven't noticed, I've been a bit busy lately. My regular writing week includes visiting your blogs and participating in the comments when it's appropriate. I try to post every day except Tuesday and Thursday. These are usually when I invite guests bloggers over. (Hint, this is my Friday post.)

Whenever I can steal a few hours, that becomes my writing time. I thought I might get a few hours today, but it wasn't meant to happen. There is just too much going on.

Guests and invites are becoming a regular, and welcome occurrence. This week I was interviewed by Mandy Eve Barnett, and did a blog swap with Ali Isaac. (Crawfish Boy, I crack myself up sometimes.) These would have happened in any normal week, and I enjoyed both invitations.

I volunteered to help Charles Yallowitz spread the word about his newest book, Sleeper of the Wildwood Fugue. Charles was so helpful that he provided a complete post, along with instructions for how to post it. It only took me a few seconds to upload. The graphics and everything were included and formatted. Awesome!

On top of this normal week, I also took Will O' the Wisp out for a blog tour. Just in case there is someone in this star system who doesn't know, I have a new book out and would like people to read it. It's the big one in my sidebar.

I hired 4-Wills Publishing to take care of the details, and I'm glad I did. All I had to do was email the posts, along with the peripheral materials and they took care of the rest.

They took care of a few extras too that I didn't expect. When I got an email about what to give away for my Rafflecopter promotion, my first thought was, What's a Rafflecopter? I thought it was some kind of crowd funding site. They are taking care of everything, so I don't have to worry about it. I told them I'd give away copies of Will O' the Wisp. I still don't know how it works, but I'm in it up to my neck now. Who knows, maybe someone will win a copy and really enjoy it. Tell your friends, etc.

They also set me up with a Goodreads author event. I'm supposed to be there tomorrow between 12:00 and 2:00 CST. I hope they meant daylight savings time. I'm on mountain time, so that would be 11:00 and 1:00 for me, unless they really meant standard time. I've never participated in this format before, so it's a test to see if I can figure it out.

4-Wills also set me up with this cool web-page. It lists all the places along the tour, provides a link to the Rafflecopter, and allegedly tells us all how to find the author event. I'm extremely grateful for the folks who volunteered to host this shindig. Which brings me to another topic…

Etiquette. That's right, a bearded old curmudgeon is going to talk about etiquette. Emily Post died several decades before we had the Internet to worry about, so it's been every-man-for-himself out there. I have a personal code about this, and I do my best to follow it. It's based upon this premise: Someone out there did me a solid favor.

When someone does me a kindness, it's up to me to return the favor. When Mari Wells posts an awesome review, or Mandy Eve Barnett interviews me, or Ali Isaac agrees to a blog swap – I'm going to reblog the posts. This is my attempt to drive them some blog traffic. I'm also going to surf back through and participate in the comments, because it matters. I generally surf back through for three days to a week, so comment away. This is important, because if someone comments on another blog I don't get notified. I have to check in.

Add in all the wonderful folks who hosted the blog tour, and there's been a whole lot of reblogging going on around here. If my blog is your only point of contact, it might seem a little repetitious. Please remember that these people did a favor for me, and they might be the kind of people you want to associate with one day yourself. Please consider visiting them and checking out their blogs.

In other news, critique group went well last night. I sent them two micro fictions and one that reaches into short story territory. They were well received, and I got a few good suggestions. Sometime this weekend I need to go through them and make changes. I'm struggling with what to submit next month. More short stuff or the first part of my new novel project?

I also forced myself to get a haircut today. (Inspired by Sue Nichols.) My daughter did a great job. My wife really ought to take me out this weekend. I am some serious eye candy right now.

What do you folks have to say? Has anyone messed around with Rafflecopter? Do you believe in blogging etiquette? Are your rules different than mine? Is anyone else out there so busy they can't think straight?

20 Comments

Filed under Writing

Now that would be awesome!

I’ve heard the phrase, burning the candle at both ends, all my life. It indicates that everyone needs a little down time now and then. A period of time to recharge and reflect.

Right about now, I’d love to burn the candle at both ends. Recently I’ve been using my pitchfork to scoop piles of candles into the forges of hell. Work was a zoo today, and has been for weeks. There are projects that keep getting further behind. I can’t put out the fires fast enough.

I’ve been driving myself hard on the writing front too. I have a lot to get done, and I’m pressuring myself to do it. There is no particular reason, it’s just how I’m wired. It is possible, in theory, to choose two projects per weekend, and stop once they are accomplished. I just can’t live that way.

On a positive note, Sleepy Hollow is over for the season. Maybe I can pre-write one or two of those blog posts in my spare time. I’ll have to hurry, SHIELD is coming back.

There aren’t going to be any guest posts this week. I never got any invites, or requests to appear here. This isn’t a bad thing, but I’d like to keep the goodwill going. I’ve enjoyed the various lessons my guests have provided.

I’d still like to get a romance author in here to share a few tricks. How do you build that heat, and maintain it for a few chapters before delivering the payoff? I have some ideas, but if there is a recipe you’d like to share, we could all benefit from it.

I also got a request for a dialog lesson. I’ve posted about this before, and maybe someone else would like to take a crack at it. Sometimes hearing from a new person helps us learn.

Anyone who appears here is welcome to promote their newest book, or coming soon, or editing service. It’s part of the deal, and is expected.

I was asked by a couple of people how I manage to write in multiple genres. I’m willing to write this out, but if someone would like to make it a blog swap it would be more fun. I can also give a moderate guns tutorial. Guns appear in many genres and it’s always nice to know a little something about them.

Several bloggers have dropped me a line, then never sent me anything. You’re still welcome, and I’d love to host you.

If anyone would like to set up a blog swap, or just wants to appear here, please let me know. I’d love to hear about your new project, and get a few writing tips along the way. I usually have Tuesdays and Thursdays available.

That way, my followers get fresh content, you get new exposure, and I get to burn a few less candles. What’s not to like? Drop me a line at Coldhand (dot) Boyack (at) gmail (dot) com. Lisa Burton is standing by to field all inquiries.

10 Comments

Filed under Blogging