Tag Archives: Blog tours

Vacation day

This is one of the busiest weeks of the year for us at work. With everything pretty much settled now, I decided to take today off.

I didn’t have any specific goals other than not having to get up and commute. This week began with a return to Daylight Savings Time, included a full moon, and ends with Friday the 13th. None of those are particularly troubling. In fact, I published Viral Blues the last time Friday the 13th rolled around.

The news is depressing with all the viral scares going around. I was looking forward to baseball season, so that’s kind of disappointing. I understand why they’re making all these changes, but I don’t have to like it.

Fortunately for me, there is the writing thing. I need to address some critiques I have back, but I don’t have them all. With that in mind, I decided to add more words. It wasn’t a banner day, but 1600 new words are more than I had when I got up this morning. I kind of like them, but always reassess when my next writing day begins.

The tour for Grinders is ongoing, and I needed to deliver some materials for that. I think it’s time well spent. No sense publishing these things if I don’t try to make people aware of them. This tour hasn’t been any more productive than any of the others, but there is one noticeable difference. I’m enjoying it more. By only having two posts per week, I don’t feel rushed and harried to cover all the comments and such. Comments have been great, too. There seem to be more of them this time.

This could actually be a good thing in the long run. I buy books by earmarking them in my head, then getting to them when I have some time. I don’t always remember all the things I was interested in, and sometimes a reminder will send me running to Amazon. Perhaps, by spreading the posts out, I can have those little reminders online for those who are more like me.

Two years ago, I decided that writing my next book was my best source of promotion. It seems to be working to a degree. My backlist is getting more action than it ever has. It isn’t a lot, but it’s noticeable. More publications means I’m out there more frequently than ever before. Phase two of this idea will be some “specials” when my series books are ready to come out. It’s possible I might weave in a free day for one of the older titles, too. That’s all speculation. My main goal is to get the next Lanternfish book ready to set sail.

Those 1600 word might be all I accomplish this weekend. There could be a few more, but the story has moved to a point where I’m not stressing about it. If I can’t get it finished before Summer, I may just release it in the middle of Summer. I never have great luck with Summer releases, but I’ve been told the middle of a trilogy is a tough sell anyway. They usually don’t move until the series concludes.

I’m open to suggestions on that point. Let me hear from you in the comments. I’d like to learn your release day and promo secrets.

Oh, Public Service Announcement: Hiding in the closet with a copy of Grinders is a great way to spend the weekend and will not expose you to Corona Virus. It’s an E-book, so you can’t substitute it for toilet paper, but you won’t want to after you get into it.

On one of my last posts I tossed a photo of Otto out there to draw interest. Frankie demanded equal time, so here she is on one of the rare times when she pauses in her playing.

Being good, temporarily.

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Busy, but productive

I started my week off with a visit to Mae Clair’s blog. I ended it with a stop by John Howell’s place. These were both stops to promote Grinders. A couple per week is much easier to manage than the dozen or so I’ve done in the past. I still intend to put out a decent number of them, but I’m going to spread them out a bit more.

Lisa Burton went back on the air somewhere in the middle to host Charles Yallowitz. He also has a new book out, so if you haven’t stopped by Lisa Burton Radio, you probably should.

All of these fine people loaned me their space, or have agreed to soon. I would appreciate it if you’d stop by their places and check them out. Maybe you’ll find a cool new blogger to follow. They’re all accomplished authors, so you might find some great reading there, too.

Today, I focused on producing more tour posts for Grinders, but at two per week it was much less stressful. I’m making every post unique, and that allows me to reblog them without sounding like a broken record. More like a wounded record, maybe.

I also made a new pinned tweet. I’m a big believer in the pinned tweet, and regularly share those of my friends and supporters. That’s why I’m embarrassed to admit that I forgot to make one for Serang. Maybe if I hit the Summer doldrums I can toss one out for that story. It isn’t like I don’t have some great artwork to add to it. I’m not much of an artist, but I can cobble together something presentable.

I also worked through critiques for two different projects. My side project was pretty easy, but Lanternfish took some effort. My group helped me make this section so much better, and I owe them a huge debt. Both projects are ready for new words, and I may add some tomorrow. I have some fun research that I need to shoehorn into Lanternfish somehow.

Today I cleared my decks. No idea where tomorrow will lead me, and I don’t really have a plan for it. I’ll check in with all my hosted posts and might even manage some new words. Hope all of you have a great weekend ahead of you.

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A bit about Serang

I think some of you are suffering from tour fatigue, and I am, too. Between two books, it’s been a long process. I hope you’ll indulge me one last post about Serang, and it will be mine.

This time out, I offered my hosts either Lisa Burton or me. I asked my hosts what they would like for their readership, and I really enjoyed the challenges. I think the Serang tour posts were some of the best promo stuff I’ve ever written.

As fun as that was, there is always a downside. Lisa only got one taker, but I have two posters. Rather than shop for another host this week (Holiday week considered) I decided to take it myself.

Lisa Burton

This is Lisa, posing as Serang with her Fu dogs/lions. The female is covered with grey fur, and the male is bronze. Serang had these guys in Lanternfish, but we get a lot more information about them in Serang.

One of the things I’ve tried to do is not explain too much about certain things. Readers will get a bit of information about Fu cubs and parents. How they chose Serang, and more. I never answer the question completely about how she summons them in times of need.

Readers will see her touch her weapon to a jade pendant she wears, and the animals will appear. Whether this is a result of the pendant, her weapon, some combo, or the connection of Serang’s spirit with the otherworld – I never answer. This is on purpose. Not everything needs to be explained. Readers should have a tidbit to imagine for themselves.

The Fu themselves are formidable in battle, and I’ve already written them into HMS Lanternfish. They rub on her like cats, and when the male purrs it’s almost frightening.

Serang becomes identified with the Fu, and there is a bit more information, but I’m not going to spoil it for you.

That wraps my touring for a while. I’m tired and I think you are, too. Winter is coming and I need to read, and work on the next Lanternfish story.

Both Viral Blues and Serang sold fairly well. They could both use more reviews. Serang in particular is suffering on this front. If any of you are so inclined, it would mean a lot to me.

I’m not going to include the standard cover and blurb. You guys have seen it by now, and both covers in my sidebar are linked to Amazon.

Feel free to use Lisa and the Fu as your computer screens or add them to Pinterest as it suits you. If I get ambitious, I may create a pinned tweet using this poster, but the Viral Blues one is still up and relatively new.

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Huh! Never saw that coming.

I’ve spent a month beating myself up about all this promotion. It’s felt like lather, rinse, repeat for weeks – at least to me. However, there is an upside I never saw coming.

This time out, I’m asking my hosts what they want for their sites. Some of them are throwing me a curve or two, and the posts are coming out differently than previous outings. I’ve always pre-written a bunch of posts that I could send out when I was ready, but having both books so close together, that didn’t happen this time.

I’ve been a whiny baby about it, (and could be again), but I think the posts are better this time.

Writing has always been a journey for me, and this feels like a baby step along that path. It’s not as easy, or convenient, but that small bit of challenge is working for me. I’m not talking about sales here. Those may, or may not, come. I just feel like the tour posts are an improvement over my usual fare. It’s just a tick, and some of you might not notice, but I’m feeling it.

I spent the day custom writing posts for the coming week. They’ll spread out, and won’t fill the week, but it’s a comfort zone. If I find more time this weekend, I might even draft some new material. (My favorite thing.)

Many times, I tend to lower my head and charge into the work that needs to be done. I get a lot accomplished that way. Sometimes it’s worth stopping and assessing that production, both for volume and quality.

That’s a lot of words to say, I think I learned something. Blog hosts know their own followers. They know what will connect with them. I will still keep my living document about promotional topics. There is always someone who says to send them whatever I like. I may be adding to my list for future blog tour material.

Next weekend, I’ll reach out to a few more hosts and find out what challenges they give me. I’ll do it with a positive attitude, and hope I’m able to deliver what they want. Obviously, it has to fit with the story. I can’t turn Serang into a horror story or a sweet romance, but maybe I can pluck a few strings that will be different than my usual fare.

It’s a challenge, but I recommend trying it. You likely know your hosts as well as I know mine. Ask them what they want the next time you go on tour. It may be harder, but the results might be better than you imagined.

Aside from the tour posts, I also have one of my Story Empire posts coming up. It’s going to be another Expansion Pack post about characters you might not have considered. Plenty of me to go around this week, and I still have a few open days if anything exciting happens around here.

Here’s something interesting. I’m trying to make a pin board for all of my stories these days. I use them as reference while I’m drafting the manuscript. I found some amazing things that influenced Serang, and you might want to check it out. Asia has some beautiful scenery, interesting wildlife, and more. (I’d kind of love to visit someday.) Here is the link to the Pinterest Board. You’ll find pictures and artwork that influenced the story. Things like Fu Dogs, the Temple of Wind, martial arts, marketplaces, and more. There are simpler things, too, like watercolors of tiny birds, drying persimmons, and musical instruments. The secondary bonus is my boards aren’t going anywhere. They make a nice reference for stories that have been filtered down to specific settings. Mine and yours.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend.

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Action in the back catalog

I’ve been doing a lot of promotion lately. Considering I released two books in three months, it’s kind of understandable. Things are going well and both books are selling.

To be honest, promo wears me out. I’d rather talk about you guys than myself, but books die on the vine without this kind of thing.

This time out, I’m still going slow. John Howell hosted me today. If you missed the reblog, this is the link. I’m custom writing all the pieces once again. I have one post I need to write this weekend, and another I need to get close on. There are other folks I intend to ask this time out. Don’t want to wear out my welcome at any of the sites.

There is something interesting going on right now. I’m seeing action in my backlist. This is where authors used to make their living decades ago. That model kind of died off, but with ebooks it still has some validity.

Some of this is caused by Viral Blues. That’s the one that included a sequence of my previous characters in a story with Lizzie and The Hat. It’s possible that folks liked VB, and are interested in reading more about some of the characters that appeared in it. I hope so anyway.

Victoria Zigler published a nice post today that included a couple of my older titles. She’s an author herself and a big time supporter of independent authors. Here is the link to her post. I’d appreciate it if you’d run over there and leave her a comment. Check out her site while you’re there and browse her books, too.

I have a lot to think about with some of this. It’s a lot of promo since September, but there are some interesting results. It may be time to move the chain a bit.

When I’m hosted somewhere, I always try to reblog the post. This isn’t to shove it down your throat, I’m trying to drive traffic to those bloggers who were there for me. The hope is they get some good numbers on the day, and maybe my introduction will lead you to another cool blog you might enjoy.

These are positive thoughts, but they could be slightly off-base. Helping others, I’m all about that. However, I am also wearing my regulars out by doing it. Let’s face it, you know I have a new book by reading about it here before I even take it on tour.

I want to balance out gratitude for the favor and keeping my own site from becoming like a broken record. I’m always willing to host something for those who’ve helped me, and that’s also being nice.

Is a post, similar to this one, that includes a few links, easier to digest over here? I could do a weekly post with tour links and a bit of salesmanship, then have a more digestible schedule here for the rest of the week? Is that a balance between polite to my hosts and still respectful of my regulars?

Where is the chain today between polite and efficient? I’d really like to hear from some of you on this.

More promo seems to be working, and it’s something I ought to keep doing. (Who knows if I will, but I can see the results in the new titles and the backlist.) Is it appropriate to keep posting things around the Internet, but not reblog every single post? Will I irritate those who went out of their way for me? I would participate in the comments, and share like crazy on social media either way.

I’d like to see those older titles keep moving. I could run out a post about Yak Guy, or Panama on a monthly basis. Maybe step up Lanternfish when the second book in the series is near publication. Maybe I could prepare a backlist post and have someone host it where several older titles are included.

This is stuff all authors struggle with. Do you have any secrets here? Do you have an opinion about this stuff. I have followers that come here for more than sales-pitch. They like my bulldogs, my sourdough bread, and my backyard fruit trees. Some of you would rather visit the Idea Mill, than read another post about one of my books.

This has rambled on for long enough. I think you understand where I’m coming from. What suggestions do you guys have? What is appropriate these days? Talk to me. Chew me out. Tell me how to make polite changes. Tell me if you think I should not change anything.

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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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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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Whew!

Hey there. Remember me? It’s been a while since I wrote something specifically for the blog. I’ve wanted to, but the blog tour demanded my attention.

The tour is over now. This one involved a pile of pre-written posts, plus a few custom requests from various bloggers. Overall, the tour was a success. We moved multiple copies every day, and it’s still selling. My experience lately is a book will flatline shortly after a book tour ends. This poses the question of what to do next. No, seriously, what should I do next?

So much of the stuff from even eighteen months ago doesn’t seem to work any longer. Facebook ads are getting horrible performance now according to some of my friends. The Amazon ads were never really much good. I tried a few email lists a couple of books ago. They cost money, but delivered nothing.

It’s a shame really, because The Hat is a fun story. More people would enjoy it, if I could only find a decent (and cost effective) way to reach them. I can give it a rest, then try the Amazon free days. I never understood why people would grab a free book when it only actually costs 99¢, but they do.

Going back to December, many of my friends released books, and I hosted as many of them as I could. They’re all good authors too, so there were some worthy books promoted here. One saw the end of an epic series, one is the beginning of a new series. There were many others between these bookends.

These same friends were there for me too, and I appreciate everyone who donated their space for my tour.

If you’re a new author, there are some observations you could make here. These are good things to know. First, I have friends. You’re going to need friends too if you want to spread the word about your books. Keep in mind that I was there for them, even though I had my own blog tour going on at the same time. They were here for me under the same circumstances. This isn’t exactly easy, particularly when you hold a full-time job. It’s what friends do for each other though.

Everyone participated in their comments too. It’s hard enough to get someone to look your way. It’s always good to acknowledge those who have something to say.

If you were really paying attention, you came across some great people too. Making friends with my hosts is a good idea. One day you might find them willing to host your book release too. Now this is different than keeping a list of contact information and only contacting them when you need something. I’m talking about conversing with these people. Participating in their blog comments from time to time. Maybe tweet out something you find interesting. You know, friends.

I run Lisa Burton Radio on a different basis. I pretty much take all comers there. Many of those people I’ve never met before. I have made some good friends via that process too. Some of my blog hosts offer something similar. There is a trick to these opportunities too. Many regular promotional slots have dried up. It isn’t because the author/blogger got bored, it’s from lack of participation.

As authors, we don’t want those slots to dry up. We may not have a book release every month, but if the slot goes away it’s gone when we need it. My advise here is to follow those blogs who offer something like this, and share those posts on social media too. The goal is a two-stage one. First, the slot stays available and will be there when you need it. Second, if the slot grows over time it will be a better slot when you need it.

The slots I took advantage of were at PH Solomon’s, Sue Vincent’s, Colleen Chesebro’s, and Chris Graham’s places. Visit these people and make friends with them. Help keep their slots alive and growing.

I’ve been pretty successful with Lisa Burton Radio, but there are weeks when I don’t have a show. It’s rare these days, but it still happens. I want to keep this slot available for you guys. I’ll admit that I’m projecting my thought process onto the other regular slots, but if I stopped getting applicants, the show would end. That would be one less place to promote your new books. (Or your old books too for that matter.)

I guess what I’m trying to say is to work on your platform, even if you don’t have a new book to promote. Make some connections and participate in some promos for other people. Maybe some of them will be there for you when you need them.

Thank you to everyone who bought a copy of The Hat. If you enjoyed the story tell someone. The reviews are looking wonderful, and are always appreciated. Your effort might be as simple as telling your co-worker about the story. I’ll try to do the same thing for you.

Lisa Burton

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Running on empty

Look at this one as a real world example of being an author today.

With the release of The Hat yesterday, I have a lot of things to do to bring it to the attention of the masses. I’m quitting now, but it’s not quite as lazy as 11:00 AM sounds.

I woke up in a pile of bulldogs at 4:00 AM this morning, and have been largely covered with them all day in various positions. They like their early morning poodle time, but I can place my iPad on the arm of my chair and type away.

Old What’s Her Face decided to wash our bedspread yesterday, so we had an alternate last night. This freaked the dogs out for some reason. They were kinds of twitchy all night. I swear they are like Sheldon Cooper in that regard. Between the dogs, the nightly kink in by back, and my bladder it was just easier to get started.

I tweaked six different posts about the new book and sent them to their respective hosts. This included all the necessary attachments and such. Then I filled out an interview form for another one, and assembled a post for Story Empire later this month. All of them required at least one extra email, and my iPad battery is about dead too.

Then I assembled no less than four guest posts for Entertaining Stories. Seems like a lot of other folks are releasing books right now too. Everything is scheduled to post right now.

There will be traffic jams, but I’ll simply have to deal with it. My guests can have the spotlight until after I get home from work. If one of my hosts posted that day, I’ll try to reblog it then. I want to reblog in the hopes of sending my hosts as much traffic as I can. They don’t get much out of this, but maybe I can get them a follower or two.

As for me, I’m calling it a day on the author front. Old What’s Her Face found some strange ice cream I’ve grown fond of, and I feel like I deserve a treat. It’s made with marscapone, figs, and balsamic vinegar. Don’t wrinkle your nose up until you’ve tried it.

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My 2018 Business Plan

Like most years, I’m going to assume this will get lost in a sea of New Year’s Resolution posts. I’ve been pleasantly surprised in the past, so I’ll put it up today and see how it fares.

This year, my business plan is going to look a bit different. In the past it was all about taking on one more thing. Maybe that would be the thing that helped me really accomplish something. I always felt like if I worked just a bit harder, maybe it would be enough.

What I wound up doing was dedicating so much to those things that I had much less time for writing. I enjoy writing, and hate social media, so why did I go down that path? Previous business plans always included time for something new to test out. To be honest, Goodreads, Facebook, and Google Plus have all been a disappointment. Twitter still seems to provide some benefit, but not when compared to the time it requires. Facebook requires payment for anything to actually get seen now.

This year, I’m going to fall for yet another author philosophy. Most of these have a grain of truth to them, even though nothing seems to be the magic bullet. This one is: the best promotion an author can do is to release his next book.

I’m excited about 2018, because I have a head start. I have two complete books to release in the vault right now.

The Yak Guy ProjectThe oldest one is The Yak Guy Project. This is the novel I submitted to a publisher. If it isn’t picked up, I could release it around the end of winter. If it is picked up, there is still a chance it would be a 2018 release.

If a publisher wants it, the cover will probably change, but I can live with that. I can still use my Lisa Burton posters for promotion. The only thing remaining is to send it to my formatter, and that takes about a week.

Yak Guy is the one about a lazy young man who wakes up in an alternative world. He must learn many of the things he failed to learn in his previous life. He is helped along the way by a string of mentors and situation that are based upon the Major Arcana of the tarot.

The HatI’m also parked on The Hat. I’m excited about this one. I really enjoyed crafting these characters and having them interact with each other. This one will come out some time in January, and it’s already back from the formatter. I really like the Lisa Burton posters for this one too. Something new for me is the idea that Lizzie and the hat have more stories to tell, and could show up again one day.

The Hat is about a hard working young woman who’s dealing with some bad breaks. She comes across an old hat that is actually a being from another dimension. Together they form a symbiosis that allows them to accomplish more than either of them could do alone. Like I said, I’m really excited about the characters in this one. It gets pretty crazy and I think you guys will like it.

During my vacation, I only got two short windows to work on Estivation. I’m about ten percent of the way into it. My intention is to have this also be a novella, but I can’t be certain until I finish it. I’ve adopted the idea that stories will be as long as they need to be.

This means, if I manage to write about 30,000 new words of fiction this year, I will have three books release in 2018. I’m pretty sure I can manage that and more.

Releasing a book is also work, I might add. I’ll need to pre-write at least thirty blog tour posts to release three books. I have a living document with topics, and can reuse the topics for each book. There is also monitoring of those posts and all that goes with it.

If luck holds out, I will have ample time to write Macabre Macaroni stories for October, and may even manage a few short stories. Enough short stories could lead to a third Experimental Notebook, maybe for 2019. I’d also like to start on another novel length work.

In order to do this, some things have to go. The Entertaining Stories blog has always been ground zero for my writing career, and I’m going to keep it that way. I also want to dedicate myself to making Story Empire even bigger and more valuable to our followers over there.

Entertaining Stories feeds into all the popular social media sites, so I’ll have a presence on them. I get Facebook alerts, so that helps to a degree. (Even though most of them are from Facebook reaching for my wallet.) My blog even feeds into Goodreads and my Amazon author page.

I’ve never been hard to find, and the blog is a pretty easy way to reach me. However, I can still be found on the other places too. I just won’t monitor those as closely as the past.

Giving up some of the social media time means taking time for more of what I enjoy. I have some favorite authors I haven’t read in years. I want to remedy that in 2018.

I’ve always been a sporadic blogger, and that isn’t likely to change. I tend to land about five posts per week, occasionally more or less. I also have to keep to my Story Empire schedule.

I should also have more time to dedicate to invitations. I try to provide whatever a host asks for, but it got difficult last year. I want to enjoy any guest appearances or mutual promos we manage to come up with.

Lisa Burton Radio is still a blast for me, and it seems to be well received every week. I’ll stick with Thursdays for Lisa’s show. She is about due for another wave of guests as I type this. Keep this promo opportunity in mind if you’re doing a blog tour or just want to reach a new audience. I enjoy working with all the talented people on these, so there is something in it for me too.

And that’s it for my 2018 goals. They should be easy to reach. They should allow me more freedom to accept what comes my way. They should also be a lot more fun.

So welcome, 2018. We’re excited to have you. Lisa even says you can borrow her shoes.

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