Tag Archives: Blogging

Back to work tomorrow

Okay, so I admit to being responsible for my own attitude. Last week was shitty, and I can either walk in with a bad attitude, or find a way to get over it. It won't be easy, but I hope I'm capable of getting on with things.

I finished all my promotional posts, but they need a little time to ferment before I send them out. They're all pretty minimal right now and maybe a little more will occur to me. I also finished up this week's Lisa Burton Radio and got it scheduled.

Then a friend suggested a guest post, and I roughed something out but it's still in the works. I also managed reading a half dozen chapters of a new book.

Beyond that, I did my errands and spent a few hours running around town. I'm calling it a good day, even though there was no new fiction involved.

Ennis Fine Furniture is having a warehouse auction that I'd really like to attend. It's on a week night after work, and doesn't fit into either of our schedules. This is mostly about commuting, but we're going to have to give it a pass. My wife has never been to an auction, and it might be interesting. (Twenty miles home, twenty miles back, twenty miles home again. Her alarm goes off at 2:30, mine at 4:00, and we just started Daylight Savings Time… no.)

Thursday is critique group, but there are only two of us now. That won't take very long, and it's near the office.

I have company coming next weekend, so I'm in good shape to slack off a little. It's probably good to step back from Yak Guy, even though I can see the finish line. When I can pick it up, I'll be in a good place to work on it.

Hope you guys had a good Monday.

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Partial project day

Today was dedicated to finishing tasks. Some were started, some weren't, and I didn't get all the way through the list.

I need five posts for a promo I'm going to be doing. I still have two left to write, and those that exist need a little something too. Watch this space, and you may find some great deals on my books in the next couple of weeks. I blog about bulldogs, and movies, writing, and all kinds of things, but occasionally I need to mention that I have books to sell. “Hey, I have books to sell.”

The good news is that I don't return to the paycheck job until Tuesday. I have one more day to work on them.

I intended to do some reading today, but failed completely. We went to one of our favorite places last night, then I stayed up late playing video games with my son. Somehow, I forgot to plug in my iPad. No juice = no reading. I used what little juice remained to pay bills today, so I can scratch that off the list.

I dedicated my analog time to working on a critique. My crit group is on life support after several years. We're down to two members remaining, but we're meeting next week anyway. Part of the discussion will be about how to get new members. I don't know too many writers in the Boise area, but I'd really like to keep this going. I get different values from critique and beta readers. I want both.

While recharging, I found a movie. I said yesterday that Skull Island left me a little flat. Today, on cable, I watched Bridge of Spies, with Tom Hanks. This movie gave me more than I expected, and I would watch it again. I knew the story, but seeing it dramatized was well worth it. Great movie.

Tomorrow, I have to get my truck sniff tested. It's an absurd local regulation, but I have to do it. I may check my meds and try getting them refilled while I'm out. I need to write two more promo posts, and I'm going to read come hell or high water.

Next weekend brings the return of company, so no writing. I'm at a point in Yak Guy where I need to decide how much wandering around in the wilderness is acceptable. Too much will bore readers. I could work this toward the end, but it might wind up being a 70K word novel. In this modern era, maybe that is preferable. It's definitely preferable to boring readers with too much star gazing.

Talk to me here. Did you get a different vibe from Skull Island? Have you seen Bridge of Spies? Do you know any Boise area fiction authors who would like to join a critique group? Are you interested in some great book deals in the first week of April? How do you feel about novels on the short side of word count? How in the heck do you guys find time for your reading?

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A day off

I managed about 1500 words today on The Enhanced League. I could have finished the first draft, but I had some other commitments. I wrote one complete micro, and it needs a bit of something. I also started the last short story. I will add one more micro after the short, and may include another anthem piece. The anthem would allow me to talk about the Hot Stove season without spending a bunch of time on it.

I had to finalize next week's Lisa Burton Radio, and get it scheduled. I also have a fun guest appearance of my own where I get to be a castaway. These things take time too, and they're important. I want to do a good job for my guests and my hosts, and didn't want to take shortcuts with any of it.

I tried to participate in the Rave Reviews Book Club's “Pay it Forward” day. I believe in paying it forward, and sent out quite a few tweets using #RRBC, and made my own hashtag #RRBCPIF – you know, just in case it helps. I don't know if anyone else picked it up, but it's out there now.

Beyond that, there was a bunch of Otto time. I may need Tommy John surgery after all the throwing I've been doing. He's a ball playing boy.

He actually watched the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on television. I've had dogs who notice the TV before, but he watched the show. He seems to get more excited over the white dogs. I decided this could be because he can see them better, but he could be one of those guys who prefers blondes too.

I posted a couple photos on the Entertaining Stories Facebook page. People love Otto photos, and my FB page could use more traffic so I tend to post them there. Here's a link, just in case you need it.

There you have it. Dabbling mostly, working toward the end of the Enhanced League season, while looking forward to the MLB actual season. Blog work, plus some puppy time, and that was my day. Back to the grind tomorrow.

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Sunday update

I was pretty worthless today. I have some regular events, like calling my parents, that I do every week. I accomplished that much.

The fact is, I didn't even try. Some days you just need to take a day off. I work a full time job, then I hit things hard on the weekends. I limited myself to a little bit of blog work, like assembling the next Lisa Burton Radio, and that's it. I also scheduled my next Story Empire post about Flipboard.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm recording The Walking Dead. In the interest of preserving my marriage, we are watching the Grammys. Which marketing genius on either side made sure both shows competed with each other?

In other news, Larissa Takahasi followed me again today. Maybe she'll actually say hi one day.

Things have gotten busy at the paycheck job lately. I have some presentions to make in the next few weeks, and one of them could be to over a hundred people. I'm ready for them, but I have to write the material for another one due in May. I suppose, just because I'm not writing fiction, doesn't mean I'm not writing.

Looking forward to completing the drafts of The Yak Guy Project, and The Enhanced League. They're both very close, but I'm not going to force either of them.

So it's back to the paycheck job for me. My floating day off is Wednesday, and those are usually pretty productive. I still might not finish anything, but I'll bet I get closer.

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Random Friday babbling, before I start writing

I saw another bald eagle along the Boise River. These have always been good omens for me. They seem to indicate success in whatever I'm striving for at the time. Looking forward to accomplishing some small goal this week.

I talked to my employer, and we're going to see if the city will come haul the trash out of the stream behind the office. I wrote my vignette and have no more use for whatever old chicken coop it turns out to be. They like to remove anything that impedes the flow, because of flood potential. They may clean up some of the branches where the wood ducks hang out too, but the ducks can find new ones.

I seem to have timed my commute this week so I fall behind a lady from Canyon County. She likes to hold down the fast lane, and guarantees our safety by driving below the speed limit. Cars flow around her like a bolder in the stream, but on the right hand side. This is dangerous. I have no problem with her anchoring the fast lane, but she should at least drive the speed limit. Even then, she'll be the slowest person on the road, but at the speed limit, I really can't complain. (I still will, but it won't be justified.)

Larissa N. Takahassi followed me this week. (Again) She seems to follow me about every two weeks. Larissa has an online makeup store of some kind. I don't buy a lot of makeup, so I don't follow her back. Seems to me that, barring WordPress disasters, you only have to follow me once.

This is a game. She's out there following people at random, possibly to get those who automatically follow back. Then she unfollows. I suspect this is a game designed to eventually sell her online makeup store and use the number of online followers to indicate value.

I checked this morning, and she is not among my followers today. Maybe she didn't like this week's posts. Maybe I should exorcise her by writing her into a horror story.

Otto is snoring beside me in my recliner. He usually gets restless and jumps down after about twenty minutes of poodle time. That gave me a chance for this random babble. Then I need to saddle up my yak and head for the steppes.

Maybe a progress report later today, if the eagle omen works out.

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Check out Marketing 101

Back in December, the Rave Reviews Book Club held its first annual Writing Conference & Book Expo. Other commitments kept me from attending, but Jan Sikes asked if she could use me as an example in creative marketing. As a reminder, Jan is the author of The Convict and the Rose, that was presented on Lisa Burton Radio yesterday. (Link here.)

This presentation comes in three helpful videos, and its full of useful information. Several popular authors and bloggers were mentioned, but since this is my blog, I'll mention that part three is where I'm featured. Lisa Burton is also mentioned, and you should check it out. It's packed with good information beyond the part where I'm discussed.

Here is the handy dandy link.

 

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Assessing 2016

I managed just under 2000 words this morning on my novel. I've reached a point where I need to decide whether he goes through the next section alone, takes up a sidekick, or gathers a small band. This means I need to think about it for a while. I'm leaning toward the sidekick, because it prevents his talking with the yak who is his mentor. It also provides someone to protect and worry about. I know where he goes, and what he faces, but any extra tension is always welcome.

Because of this, it's time to work on my 2016 assessment. This is kind of a personal “good, bad, and ugly.”

I wanted to read more mainstream stuff in '16, but never read a single one. Independent fiction kept me pretty busy, and I need to change that. Branching out is always good for learning, and inspiring the muse. I did manage one graphic novel, and enjoyed the heck out of it. Graphic novels don't exactly qualify as mainstream in my book though. I want to get back to Jim Butcher and Cheri Priest.

I wanted to expand my footprint into Facebook. I did this in the form of a Lisa Burton profile, and an Entertaining Stories page. Lisa is more popular than my page, go figure. I try to keep them a bit different, and a few Otto videos went on the Entertaining Stories page that Lisa never got. I'm still learning here, but I'm having a good time. It's a great way to find old sci-fi artwork, classic cars, inspiration for Lisa Burton posters, and bulldog images.

As far as the blog goes, my number one post was a short fiction trick. I wish I could repeat this, because it has over 3000 views and counting. In fact, the subsequent post about how Flipboard drove most of this traffic was in my top ten posts. My third most popular post was “We go Spying With Lana, on Lisa Burton Radio.” (1200 views and counting.)

It seems like anything with Lisa is a popular post. I don't even have to include a graphic, and the writing cabin type posts are popular. It probably means nothing from a promotional standpoint, but it makes me think I must be getting her strong personality into the posts.

I've heard from the more chatty folks that Lisa Burton Radio produced a spike in sales for them. This is kind of a plus/minus for me. Lisa has a hell of a time getting enough guests to keep her interviews going. Places to promote books seem to be getting more scarce, and these interviews are the only ones like them that I know about. I want to keep them going, but need authors who want to take advantage. I'll just mention here that it's absolutely free, and I share them on Stumbleupon, Flipboard, two Facebook sites, and I tweet them out frequently.

An interesting observation is how popular posts involving the Rave Reviews Book Club were. My Block Party stop was the eighth most popular post of 2016. (I'm a fairly prolific blogger so that's a great number.) My top twenty is filled with posts I hosted as part of blog tours associated with RRBC. The obvious thought is that RRBC drives traffic, and they support. If any of you are inclined to make a 2017 business plan you ought to consider joining us.

Sales were about the same as last year for me. While this isn't bad, it includes two new publications and much more promotion on my part. It appears I'm working harder to accomplish the same thing. Is this just the market, the volume of available titles, my perspective getting tired, what?

A big part of my promotion kind of fell together and grew into something I never expected. A group of authors and I formed Story Empire as a way to mutually promote our paranormal themed books in October. It's grown into much more, and has potential for more growth. I'm looking forward to seeing just how far we can take it. I have a theory that we'll expand to more than just paranormal.

My pals and I at Story Empire went on a massive paid blog tour for our paranormal titles. This involved giveaways of Amazon gift cards, and in my case two book blasts. Quite frankly, I could have sold more books on a friends and family tour. Most of the host sites appeared to be dead zones that only host blog tours. Nobody is going to follow a site that never offers anything but blog tour posts. There is no interaction, and very little action happened beyond the authors thanking the host for having us.

I was impressed with one of the book blasts, and might consider them for a tour host in the future. More research is required for blog tours these days.

I also wasn't impressed with the giveaways. Turns out there are people out there who chase gift cards. They have no interest in the wares being promoted, only getting into the contests. In my mind, the contest is to add a little fun to the tour, and possibly increase the interaction. This isn't the way it worked out. I have a new plan for contests from now on.

I got invited to participate in an anthology. I'd never done anything like this, and it was educational. There is no money in it, but the exposure is pretty good. This is something I'd like to do again, depending on the theme. I'm probably not going to write a Valentine's Day love story, but if a group wants to do some science fiction or something, I would consider it.

I did a bunch of giveaways, 99ยข sales, and Amazon advertising with mixed results. All of them moved books in varying degrees, but they didn't seem repeatable. Whatever worked once, failed six months later. This might be because of timing, the quality of the advertisement, or the marketplace. I probably need to keep trying these.

My short fiction during October, called Macabre Macaroni, is also hard to assess. Maybe it's because I don't want to admit what I'm seeing. Every comment was encouraging, even those who thought I ended the first one too soon simply wanted more of a good story. The odd thing is the number of views. They started strong, then went down with every subsequent post. This can't be about the quality of the stories, because I'm tracking views not likes or comments. Viewers didn't show up in the first place. What it could mean is that people are just tired of them. Maybe some thought it was just the same story trucked out over and over because of the Lisa art.

The Idea Mill. These aren't nearly as popular as I would like. These posts don't even show up until I get to number 81. I love them, but maybe it's time to retire them. Many of my followers are writers, but not as many are speculative fiction writers. There were a lot of textile posts both from antiquity and in modern science. There were also a lot of primate observations. I featured one cryptid, and a railroad line that carried the dead. All of the comments are positive, but they're all from my regulars too. Asking for shares might help, maybe I need a new thing for the blog.

I finally found a way to make Twitter functional. When you follow too many people, the stream of information is like trying to drink from a firehose. I learned about pinned tweets, and am trying to keep them relatively fresh. When I check my notifications, anyone who appears to be supporting me causes me to share their pinned tweet. Not everyone has a pinned tweet, but it sure is handy. I find a lot of them that are six months old though. In that case, I delete my tweet, then immediately retweet it. My hope is that it goes out fresh in the timeline of my followers. Everyone should be using pinned tweets if they have books to promote. Remember to keep them freshened up though. I think I'll freshen up mine right after this posts.

Two new publications. I released The Playground, a novel, and The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II, a collection of short fiction in 2016. The novel was just a blip on the radar. I'm disappointed, because I really like it and I think the style added something to this kind of story. Playground also produced one of the most fun characters I've ever written, and my first anti-hero. The second Notebook exceeded sales of the first one. I have some evidence to show that it produced a few sales of the first one after readers finished it. This is great news. Now what to do with the information? Is one title simply better than the other? Is short fiction making the surge I predicted last year? Is human interest leading us away from novel length works? I don't know, but will probably keep producing both.

That's 2016. Some things worked, some didn't. Some did nice things I never expected. The idea is to keep what works, and do new things to replace what doesn't work. Sometime in the first week of 2017, I'll put out a business plan. It's always nice to have a roadmap.

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