Tag Archives: Blogging

Miss me?

Yup, just me today. No book promo involved. The book tour is ongoing and will continue for a while.

I’m grateful for all of you that are coming along. To keep it interesting, I made every post unique. To those of you who already purchased a copy, I’m even more grateful. Even if Lanternfish isn’t your cup of tea, there are some decent posts about the inner workings about creating such a book. I’ve had a great time talking to everyone along the way.

This weekend, my wife had to work. Aside from chasing back and forth to monitor blog comments, I managed a lot of new words of fiction. It wouldn’t surprise me if I’m over ten-thousand. I didn’t break it down, because it spreads across two different projects.

When one project requires a bit of thought, I switch to the other. This is completely unlike my regular process, but it’s working.

Aside from letting Otto chase the squirrel, and Frankie chase him, that’s what I’ve been doing this weekend.

We’re off together tomorrow, so I might not get any more writing done, but I really can’t complain. I was pretty productive.

I don’t know what we’ll do, but I have a post out there somewhere to find and monitor. I’ll share it here to provide a path to those who are interested.

Such is the glamorous life of an author. We’re staying in tonight and finding something on the television.

How was your weekend?

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2018, better than last year

It’s time for my annual assessment of the past year. It was noticeably better than 2017, but it almost had to be. This isn’t to say that it was good, just better.

In 2017, I did something to my back that I still can’t figure out. I spent weeks unable to do much more than complain. My back is sore every day now, but I haven’t had any kind of relapse.

All of the pets are alive and well, unlike last year. Otto had a bad back last year too, but glucosamine and drugs seem to keep that in check. We lost a puppy last year too, and never want to repeat that process.

I released two books in 18, and am content with that schedule. As a general theme, nothing that used to work for promotional purposes seems to work any longer. I used to run the occasional Facebook push or Amazon ad, but they seem to do nothing today.

I hired a promotion company when I released The Hat. This worked extremely well, and the cherry on top was access to Net Galley. This turned out to be my most popular title, and has the most reviews too.

When it came time to release The Yak Guy Project, the promotional company was gone. I couldn’t find their website, and they never responded to emails either. Unfortunately, that seems to be a common thing in promotions too.

Both books were released with an extensive blog tour on my part, and that always helps. Still, Yak Guy did not perform as well as The Hat. Everyone who read it seems to have enjoyed it, but I’d like to have gotten it in front of more people.

As a positive sign, both books were well received. I don’t have people burning yaks in effigy or anything like that.

I blogged less in 18 than any other year, at least on Entertaining Stories. My blog stats are slightly down too. The most popular posts were all Lisa Burton Radio posts. This makes sense, because it’s a regular slot. I suspect there are people who come by only on Thursdays to check these post out.

There are a few things I’ve always done that remain moderately popular. The Idea Mill posts perform well, but not as well as I like. My October micro-fiction has its fans too. None of these are huge, but they perform well.

My stats show a good lifespan for older posts. This means some kind of Google connection exists, because people still find them. I got a great number of people coming from StumbleUpon and Flipboard in the first part of the year. StumbleUpon stopped operations earlier in 2018, and became Mix. Flipboard just stopped working for me. I smell some kind of new algorithm I haven’t figured out yet. I still share many posts to Mix, but haven’t seen a single visitor to my blog from that site. Mix is likely a waste of time, and the interface isn’t easy to use either.

My blog auto-feeds to many places. Google Plus is one of those, but they’ve announced they are stopping. I still get visitors from Twitter and Facebook, but Google Plus never did much anyway.

I didn’t post as many tales from the writing cabin. These are the ones where I interact with Lisa Burton, my assistant. Other guests are my Muse, the raven of Doubt, and occasionally characters from my books. These were always popular, and I should get back to them.

On the other hand, instead of taking the time to write about my progress in a fictional environment, I posted drips and drabs about my next book. These were popular posts, and there are people interested in reading Voyage of the Lanternfish when it comes out. (Soon.)

Is there a happy medium between writing cabin posts and just writing about it? Could there be a sweet spot where turning those same posts into a writing cabin post would have performed better? I’ll never know, but maybe I should try this. It wouldn’t have been too hard to have the writing cabin overrun by root monsters, or take a boat out looking for the gigantic jellyfish.

Some of this could be due to my participation at Story Empire. The writing cabin posts were a bit of fiction, but designed to illustrate one author’s struggles and growth. Story Empire is all about helping others, and many of my ideas go there now. Let’s face it, I only have so much to share at any given time.

In 2017, the Boyacks lost about half of our income. This was based upon a small mining royalty that is gone now. This means where we are now is the new normal. It’s been an adjustment, but one we must make. It means budgeting has to go into new Lisa Burton posters, book covers, and promotional expenses.

I’ve recycled some of the blog art this year, but let’s face it, one post a year ago shouldn’t render the posters useless. I have a bunch of them, and may do it again.

All in all, 2018 was better than 17. Two good book releases, and none of them were collections or anthologies. I’m not saying collections or anthologies are bad, I love them. I’m just saying these were more extensive works. They were both well received if not wildly successful.

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Pretty good flex day

This is my last flex day of 2018. On holidays, we work eight hour days, because so many people want time off. I only have Christmas Day off next week, and New Year’s Day off the next one.

I wanted to accomplish some things today, and feel like I’ve done that. I started off by opening a can of chicory coffee and making some. It’s kind of a treat, and not what I usually buy. I like to get a small can once in a while, like today.

Social media is always my first stop, so I worked through email and such. Then I turned my attention to some critiques I received. Working through this section a couple of times served the same purpose as reading my last chapter, so I figured to give it a go.

I wound up with 2600 words, and that makes for a nice day for me. My characters, argued, chased two different kinds of monsters around, and shot the crap out of things. I think they had fun too.

Confession time here. I don’t have a detailed storyboard for this one, and I’m struggling with word count again. I may have to give up some writing time, and make a board for the portions that are left. This one is extremely character driven, so the plot doesn’t have to be quite as heavy. I still need one though, and the characters ought to be moving it along.

Second confession time. I’m writing two books at once. This is almost always a problem, but I’m doing it again anyway.

Then I turned my attention to Lisa Burton Radio. I have tomorrow’s post all written and scheduled. It promises to be a fun one, so make sure you swing through.

I still have another one to prepare the shtick for, but I normally wouldn’t do that until Saturday. I might still do it this afternoon.

Other duties include the Christmas Eve post at Story Empire. I still have no idea what I’m going to do there, but I’ll come up with something. It probably isn’t the best day to conclude the mini-series about writing small, then medium, then large.

I also think next week might not be the best week to force upon one of Lisa’s guests. I may write something up for myself just to fill the slot.

If I don’t do anything else today, it was a good day. I may just play with the dogs and hang out. Or storyboard. I should be storyboarding.

This is squirrel patrol in the big chair with me. Note Otto’s open and alert eye as he scans the back fence. He couldn’t catch one in a million years, but he enjoys the chase.

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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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My weekend

I really only had two goals for this weekend. It’s a short weekend for me, between the holidays. We don’t get flex days on holiday weeks. I pretty much failed anyway.

I wanted to get some back of the book material out for Lanternfish, and I accomplished that much.

Getting a haircut was part of the plan too, and I failed. My hair lady has moved on to another shop in the same franchise. I went to her because she is good, but really didn’t like the franchise. Now that she’s 20 miles out of my way, my happiness with her skills doesn’t outway the other burdens.

This franchise has one of those computer systems you must use just to get a haircut. It reminds me of the thing at Red Robin where I have to place my own order, and pay at the table. It’s freaky. I don’t feel like I owe a server a tip if I’m doing all the work. Are they going to ask me to wash the dishes next?

I want to hand someone money for a haircut. I don’t want to contribute to their database, become part of their farm, or do their bookkeeping for them. I just want a haircut. They don’t need my email, Social Security number, phone number or anything else to do that.

There are two places closer to home, so I stopped in to them. One was booked solid, which is a good sign. The other didn’t have anyone on site who could cut hair. They only work Tuesday through Friday. Scratch them off the list.

I’m going to call the busy place, and maybe I can find a new person to do business with. Kind of rough on Thanksgiving week, so I’ll be a bit forgiving. (I may have to buy a ponytailer soon. Or do something like Einstein did with his hair.)

Then I started a different kind of Lisa Burton Radio post. It might take a week or two to sort out, but it’s going to be interesting. Having fun with it, and I won’t post it on Thanksgiving day.

Since we got paid Friday, we managed date night on Saturday. Nothing too fancy, just dinner at Kahoots, which is one of our favorite places. They had pumpkin beer on tap too. It’s the second place I found all season that had some. (Elysian Pumpkinchino.)

We had matinee tickets to watch the Grindelwald movie today. We had a great time, and I would like to see it again to look for all the little things. I like the way Rowling portrayed the rift in a society. Someone has to drink the KoolAid before a movement gets underway. I didn’t like the division of KoolAid drinkers, but I wasn’t supposed to. It was very well done. Go see it.

Okay, so for a two day weekend, it was still kind of productive. A lot of it was family stuff, but it was fun. I need to get back to work on that Lisa Burton post, but I may have to peck away at it during the week… unless I get a haircut one night.

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Three places at once

I’m in a seminar today, in San Antonio, Texas. This is real world, and I need to be involved in the proceedings.

In the mean time, I’m online in two different places. First is the Legends of Windemere Blog. That’s a link for your convenience. I’m offering up a bit of fun Halloween themed reading for your consideration.

I’m also up at Story Empire today. This one involves Halloween writing, only you could apply the concepts to many different genres. Jump into the comments and let us know some of your tips.

I’ll try to follow all the comments as my time allows today. If not, I may have to catch up tonight sometime.

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Happy Wednesday

I’ve been slacking off on the blog, because I’ve been doing a lot of things that don’t relate to the author’s life. When I do, they aren’t the sexy things. One of the things I’ve always done is share this life – warts and all, so that’s what today is about.

I spent the last week in a trade conference for my paycheck job. There weren’t a lot of extra hours available. Next week, I’m going to Texas for a conference that is more directly related to what I do. All part of the job.

This week was my week to catch up… except… we scheduled job interviews. This is because all of us on the interview team have been in and out for a month. The other two members are tied up for the next two weeks.

There is an outside chance that I can make some real progress on Friday, so I have my fingers crossed.

On the writing front, this was my flex day, and I spent it working on the stuff nobody ever talks about. It’s part of the writing life, and it has to get done too.

I wrote a post for Story Empire that will go live next week. I also assembled and scheduled a Lisa Burton Radio interview. I mention this, because this stuff takes time. It has value, so I forge ahead. It has value to me, and it helps other authors too. If you haven’t checked out Story Empire, you might want to cruise over. There is a wealth of information authors can take advantage of.

I dedicated a big part of this morning to finishing up a book I’ve been reading. I fiddled around with this for far too long, and I needed to finish it. I even resorted to reading one chapter on my 30 minute lunch breaks. At least I got four chapters per week that way. It was a wonderful story, and I gave the author a five star review on three different sites.

Time. It’s all about time, which seems to be in short supply these days.

I like to read on airplanes, but I like to find things I don’t necessarily have to finish. This time, I have a couple of craft books saved that I might dive into. Other flight, I’ve chosen short story collections, or even novellae, because I can finish them. (I made that word up, but novellae seems like it should be right.)

On Tuesday, I got another Lisa Burton poster via email. (It looks really cool too.) That means I have the Lanternfish cover, plus two promotional posters. I ordered the last one, and it looks like I’ll be able to meet my winter publication deadline pretty easily.

To round out my day off, I worked through nine chapters of Lanternfish. I found a few things to correct, even though this is about my third pass. Good news is that I’m really enjoying the story still. I think that bodes well for my future readers.

I nearly wrote that I worked through nine innings of my book. Can you tell I’ve been watching the baseball playoffs? I don’t have a dog in this fight, but the games have been very good. (I’m not cheering for any specific team, but I’m glad the National League will go back to Front Row Amy’s ballpark.) There’s one on right now, and I’d better get back to it.

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