Tag Archives: Blogging

I need to get more accomplished

I’m in a phase where I need to get Lanternfish ready to publish. If everything goes according to plan, that will be in November. I’m also pushing Good Liniment for sometime this winter.

In the mean time, I need to write about nine blog posts. I have two of them. I also need a good topic for Story Empire. I feel like I’m getting close to an idea, but it needs more work.

Reading and writing have to go out the window this weekend. As soon as I finish all that, I need to be thinking about some way of promoting Lanternfish and how that’s going to look.

November seems like a long ways away, but it will be here before I know it.

Old What’s Her Face and I had date night early this evening. We went to the fair and ate food that’s bad for us. It isn’t as hot as most years, but involves a lot of walking to even get out of the parking lot. I took a few photos and can share those.

Pumpkins seem like they’re off a couple of hundred pounds this year. I still like to see them. I’m an Autumn kind of guy and it makes me look forward to the season.

This one is a different variety. They’re flatter and have deeper grooves in them. I really need to look up the name. This is because I have a character who has something like this for a head in a future story. Not a main character, but it’s nice to be accurate whenever possible.

This one is also a pumpkin. I have no reason to share it other than it’s weird enough that some of you might be interested. Looks like it’s covered with peanut shells.

Lots of cute floppy bunnies.

Many varieties of chickens.

And one golden pheasant.

Basically we each grabbed a prickly pear lemonade to walk around with, scoped out the food vendors, then walked through the exhibits. We didn’t even look for the pigs and such this year.

I ate a(n) gyro as big as my head, and we split a bag of churros. That’s about it. The concerts are lousy this year, and we aren’t carnival age any more.

Gyro poses an interesting question. Since it’s pronounced eero, I prefer to put “an” before it. Since it’s spelled with a consonant, it looks like it should be an “a.” It’s a blog post, so who cares. I’ll be careful not to put them in any of my fiction.

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A good flex day

Look at me, blogging on a Wednesday again. I had a productive flex day today.

I started out by working on chapters from two different complete manuscripts. A little here, and a little there, and they’re all getting done.

One of those involved sending a chapter out for critique, which is awesome. I learn so much by having other eyes glance at my material. It also makes it better for human consumption.

I decided to read three more chapters of a book. I don’t normally do that, but have kind of a secret weapon at my disposal now.

Speaking of the secret weapon, I also wrote and scheduled a blog post for Story Empire about it. It won’t come up until the 25th, but if I discover more about it, I have time to update the post.

I also rewrote about three existing chapters of my side project. I fell into the trap of giving things away too soon. I wanted to ramp up some mild tension, and if it’s going to be a trilogy I have time to do it right. They already existed, so it wasn’t like starting from scratch.

It probably needs even more tension in one part, but I’m struggling how to keep something secret and have a character act suspicious at the same time. I have time to figure it out.

I also added words to the side project, and it helped by introducing some new elements to be secretive about. Then there was a fun section that I’m pretty happy with.

I’m struggling with style for this new story. I have one character that wants to come across a bit too formal. Maybe this is from writing Serang for all those years. I keep going back and adding contractions, and softening her presentations.

Aliens are also a struggle. Creating alien species is not all that simple. Pretty much everything has been done unless you get into weird things that can’t communicate or interact.

I spent too much time with Google and Google translate trying to make up my own derogatory term. Eventually, I went with the classic. It can serve as a place-marker, or it might stay that way for good. I’m not overly fond of the word, but it does have impact.

I also have this thing lately for naked women in a couple of different tales. It’s intended to have an effect on the men around them, because the women don’t seem to care all that much. I don’t know that it’s exactly coming across that way. I’m not worried about it in Good Liniment, but might have to experiment more in this side project. It still needs a name, but I hope something will come along as I write it.

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Business Plan 2021

It looks like that time again. I try to prepare a business plan for my writing career every January. These have been some of my most popular posts over the years, but that isn’t why I write them. I feel like everything is better with a little planning.

I’m sure this is no surprise, since I’ve posted both here and at Story Empire about my storyboarding method for plotting out my stories.

Mostly, I write these to keep myself honest. I refer back to them throughout the year to see how I’m doing. Let’s dive into it.

A few years ago, I decided my best promotional move was to write my next book. I’ve gotten discouraged with advertising that fails to produce, social media that sucks time, but doesn’t seem to do much else, so I write.

Honestly, it seems to be working. I can’t explain it exactly, but if someone were to pull up my Amazon page, it appears that I’m somewhat seasoned and in it for the long haul. Perhaps people are more willing to take a chance on me more than someone who only has one book. No idea, but it makes some sense.

It’s not that readers pick up everything I write. If someone likes paranormal tales, I have a few. Same thing for science fiction and fantasy. Some are like me and read all those genres, but I can appeal to the specialists now, too.

For the last two years, I’ve published three books per year. It’s kind of a grueling pace, but it was worth it.

This year, my goal is two publications. I want to complete my Lanternfish trilogy and get it out the door. I’ve already started on the final volume, but it’s been slow going. Too many holidays and not enough quality time.

The other book I’m working on is a continuation of The Hat series. Since this is an ongoing series, I don’t feel as much pressure as I do with Lanternfish. I have a couple of storyboards for volumes beyond the one I’m writing, and a few solid ideas with notes started.

Last year, a couple of things changed for me, and forced me to make a decision. My cover art and Lisa Burton promotional pieces took much longer than I was used to. I kind of overwhelmed my critique group, too. My choices were to start another project while I waited to publish the completed ones, or take a break. I took a break.

I know this doesn’t seem like me, but I needed it and I imagine my critique partners appreciated the few months off, too. I didn’t exactly kick back during this time. I spent it getting ready for two extensive blog tours. I make all my promo stops unique, so writing ahead was a good idea.

Timing of publications continues to vex me. I would like to hit one right before school lets out in the Spring, and the other around Halloween sometime. I’m not sure I’ve ever hit the Springtime target before, but have been moderately successful in the Fall.

By publishing two books instead of three, maybe that will simplify a few things. Maybe not, because Grinders in late Winter went off without a hitch.

I intend to use any spare time I have drafting something new. I don’t know what that will be yet, but I could go on the African adventure, maybe the post apocalyptic piece that’s set in the swamp, or something set in outer space. That last one seems to want to be a trilogy again.

The idea of another trilogy kind of drags me down, and excites me at the same time. For one thing, I could do things differently this time. I could hold the entire thing back while I finish it, then go for quicker releases after it’s finished. This would make it my side project for a couple of years.

Lanternfish was only intended to be a stand-alone story. Comments and feedback convinced me to turn it into a trilogy. With one already on Amazon, the others have to come along as they can.

I need to make some decisions on how to promote Wreck of the Lanternfish. I could promote the book, the whole series, or a bit of both. I could go on two different blog tours; one for the book, then months later for the whole trilogy.

I might be able to use some discount days or free days to promote with, too. James is clearly the main character, but Serang has become a co-main character along the way. Her origin story has never been on sale and walks readers into the trilogy. I could do something similar with Voyage of the Lanternfish, or both.

Promotion is like dowsing to me. I’m open to suggestions here, so don’t be afraid to speak up.

Last year, my blogging goal was to post two to three times per week. This came after years of posting four times per week, because Lisa Burton Radio was always on Thursdays. With retirement of Lisa’s show, it should have been easy to meet. I failed completely.

This is the one thing I will blame on Covid. Many of my posts are a slice of life. With all the lockdowns, working from home, and all the rest, there wasn’t much life to share. I’ve been lucky to make a weekend post for the last few months. I don’t know if this will change, so I’m not setting a goal here. I will keep updating Entertaining Stories, and meet my Story Empire assignments. Anything beyond that will have to be an extra.

Then there is social media. During my summer break, I kind of bailed on it. It never really has produced anything for me, and I spent some time changing out my pinned tweets and all the rest. I changed it almost weekly when I promoted the Experimental Notebooks. My blog automatically feeds to most of them, and I still share all of your things when I can. I just stopped actively participating.

Prior to my break, I used to go through my feed and retweet all of your posts, share the bigger things on Facebook, etc. Now it’s mostly posts from your blogs.

Older rules were that we had to be active on social media, because that’s where readers find us. It made perfect sense, but I never really saw it function in real-time. Interest in blogs seems to be slowing down, too, but it’s about all I have left. It also seems to be the only thing that will sell books from time to time, so I’m all-in here.

My goals aren’t as severe this year. Two publications that I already have partial manuscripts for. Keep the blogs up, and dabble in social media. Spend any spare time drafting something new.

Weigh in today. Teach me your promotional tricks. Do you prepare a business plan every year, or is that just me?

They say all posts perform better with a picture, so here you go. Frankie likes to help Mom make the bed, particularly when the bedding is warm from the dryer.

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My Annual Assessment, 2020

Well, here we are. We all know what this year was about. Political strife, a global pandemic, and seeing humanity at its worst, with glimpses of us at our best.

With the Christmas holiday, I kind of checked out. We went to our son’s and spent time with the grandkids. Our daughter was here for Christmas dinner, and we’ve been watching movies. I enjoyed myself, despite the restrictions we all face.

This is supposed to be about my annual assessment, so I’d better get on with it. Some of you are probably expecting some doom and gloom, and nobody will blame you, but that’s not how I see my year.

It all started out with such promise. 2020 was the Year of the Rat. I was born on the Year of the Rat. My first publication came out on Chinese New Year, and it features a couple of rats and the parade in San Francisco. It seemed like the table was all set.

Grinders did okay. It has some great reviews, but could use some more. Reviews seem to be harder to come by these days. I think it’s some of my best work and would like to get it to a few more readers.

Performance and reviews are kind of going to be the subject for a few paragraphs. I had an ambitious schedule and succeeded in publishing three books. The next two were continuations of series, which is something new to me.

HMS Lanternfish is book two of a trilogy. It sets up some things that will happen in the final volume, which I’m writing currently. I don’t know what it means, but HMS Lanternfish has less than half the number of reviews than Voyage of the Lanternfish.

I know Voyage has been available for a year longer, so that makes some sense. I also know that it’s a small dataset. Hard to draw conclusions with those kind of numbers.

Rumor has it that with trilogies sometimes the sales pick up after the whole trilogy is available. Some readers have been burned by authors who never finished the job. I understand that, but am working on the concluding tale.

Then there is the Ballad of Mrs. Molony. This is the third entry into the world of Lizzie and the hat. These have all been well received, but nowhere near as popular as the original volume. This is my open ended series, and I intend to keep it going for a few more years. I’m also currently working on volume four of this series.

It’s important to remember that reviews aren’t the same thing as sales. Most books sell more than what they garner in reviews and mine are no exception.

I also took most of the summer off. Three publications per year, for two consecutive years, got kind of draining.

I wanted to post at Entertaining Stories somewhere between two and three times per week. The year started off that way, but in the last month or so I’m lucky to get one weekend post put up.

I will blame some of this on Covid. My blog includes a slice of life along with the antics of Lisa Burton, or my word metrics updates. With Covid, there hasn’t been much of a life at all, let alone a slice worth sharing with the world.

Another excuse is also blog tour fatigue. When promoting three publications, there are a lot of blog tour posts. They fatigue me, and my readers. I keep every post unique, so they’re worth reading, and that is a bit draining.

The Story Empire blog is another pet project. I kept my end of the bargain and covered all my assigned days. I write this every year, but I’m wondering how much more I have to offer over there. I love helping others, and will keep chipping away at it. There comes a point where I have to rewrite and repackage some of my content. New writers are always showing up, so it kind of works. I already have my first January post written and scheduled.

To wrap all this up, I think 2020 was successful. There was a lot to overcome, and we’re all still dealing with it. However, I published three books, interacted with many of you, and met all my goals. In a different year, I might whine a little about low success, but in 2020 I’ll take it.

Once 2021 arrives, I’ll trot out a business plan and we can all converse about that.

Talk to me. How did your business year play out?

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Sunday update

Old What’s Her Face just called from the freeway. She went to Nevada to visit her brother for the weekend. There is a huge construction delay just outside Boise, but she’s nearly home.

Normally, this would be great writing time for me, but I’ve sworn off of new words for a while longer. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been working.

I have a bit of a conundrum involving the publication of my next book. I want to announce it as part of a larger promo on October first. To do that, I need an actual purchase link. I’m off on Wednesday next week, but that’s September 30th. It sounds perfect, but Amazon doesn’t play that way. They can have up to a 72 hour lag time to put a book on their shelves.

This left me no choice but to publish it this afternoon. I need to guarantee the book’s availability on October first. It could be available when you read this, or it could take a day or two. Out of my control.

If nothing else, it allows me to concentrate on lining up some hosts to take this one out on tour. It’s called The Ballad of Mrs. Molony, and it’s a new caper for Lizzie and The Hat. Just in time for the Halloween season.

I also managed to write and schedule my next post on Story Empire. I thought I had a week, but I checked and it’s all set. Then I scheduled one post for this site on September 30th. Aside from that, I changed the wallpaper to something more Halloween related and updated my banner in anticipation of the new book release.

Beyond that, I finished binge watching a show called The Order. Very CW kind of thing, but fun with witches and werewolves. I also made some heavy progress on reading the anthology I appear in.

Not a bad weekend at all. I made some progress on the author front, got to watch what I want on television, and even functioned as a blogger.

I also ate a bunch of Asian pears and it’s about time to visit the tree again. Hope all of you are staying safe, and had some fun times yourself.

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Road trip

This post has kind of a weird origin. We had enough money to replace the fence this summer and it turned out great. A frequent topic around here involved what to do with the rest.

About then, Old What’s Her Face’s iPad decided to go to iHeaven. In this modern era, we live on our devices, so she ordered a replacement.

Turns out, the new iPad is hard to come by. All the Apple stores appear to be closed, and her order was weeks out.

About this time, I decided to have an accident with my iPhone that destroyed it. I posted about this last week sometime. A few clicks at ATT and I had a new phone in hand in one day. This added fuel to my wife’s fire. You don’t want this woman fired up.

She went on a mad search of every store she could find, and there isn’t a single new iPad in our area. Not to be deterred, she took her quest online. Nobody seemed to have one and they refused to ship, if they did.

Lo and behold, there was one at a store in Logan, Utah. That’s only about 4 1/2 hours away, no big deal, right?

I was less than thrilled, but something sparked inside me. It’s been six months since we had date night. A long road trip isn’t exactly date night, but it would take us out of the house and we’d get to be together.

I insisted the dogs had to stay home. It was predicted to be over 100 degrees, and met all those expectations. They stayed home with our son, and we roused ourselves at 4:00 AM.

It was basically a long drive across the desert, but we hung out, we talked, and kind of enjoyed ourselves. The store itself only took about ten minutes.

My wife spent some time on her phone checking out eateries in Logan. We decided on one that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.

It met all the criteria and was pretty much a dive. Right down to the table that wobbled. Masks were in abundance, and we grabbed a booth away from other folks. This place had Cajun food (In Utah), but it was wonderful. I had a shrimp Po-boy and we shared a basket of gator bites. My side was some of the best red beans & rice I’ve ever had. Then we faced the long ride home.

Once we got to the Treasure Valley it was like fog across the city. It was so thick even visibility was down, but it has to be smoke from some distant forest fires.

She spent the evening setting up her iPad and is thrilled. We didn’t kill each other, and managed to have a good time.

This morning, the sunrise was pretty colorful due to the smoke in the air. My Asian pears looked like balls of fiery gold in the rising sun. This isn’t possible, because they’re green even when ripe. I’ve been testing them for a couple of weeks, but today the slight bitterness from the peels is gone. I’m about to be overwhelmed by mountains of Asian pears. They’re expensive at the stores, so I won’t complain.

I spent a big part of my morning noshing on pears and reading blogs. When you take a day away you tend to fall behind. I read everything, but most of you only got a like and a tweet. I’m usually more interactive, but I wanted to climb out of the hole.

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Stirring things up

One of my goals while not drafting new material is to shake things up around here. It’s nothing drastic, just an attempt to sweep out the old and try some new things.

I need to change my banner, but with a couple of releases looming, I’ll probably just wait until one of the new books comes out. I can recycle the underwater scene when Lanternfish shows up in the Amazon store.

Start over there.

(Not liking this new editor. This should be centered. Probably fix it with the old editor)

In my sidebar, I always keep the two most recent publications available as quick ways to check out those books. I could put all of them over there, but that would be a busy mess. These images are about to be replaced by HMS Lanternfish and The Ballad of Mrs. Molony in the next couple of months.

You can always find everything on my Amazon page, but if you’d like to check out Serang or Grinders, the links are still there. I think they’re two of my better works. Serang is a great way to climb aboard the Lanternfish saga.

Up Top

All blogs have pages, but very few people check them out. I’m making some changes up there, too. If you were familiar with my layout, you’ll notice something missing. I have retired Lisa Burton Radio.

This regular feature was designed so I could pay back all the help others have given me along the way. I designed something a bit different that loaned out Lisa’s popularity as an interview of your fictional characters. They were labor intensive, but quite productive.

Honestly the interviews worked best when I promoted them. By doing that I kept a regular schedule of one per week for over two years. It was fun collaborating with my fellow authors, and we moved a few books along the way, too.

I wanted some of my time back, and quit pushing authors to try it out. They were available upon request, and there’s the rub. Nobody was requesting them. Most authors are introverted to a degree, but we have to promote our wares someplace. Good free options are drying up from lack of use, and Lisa Burton Radio is one of those casualties.

My door is still open to folks who want a place to promote their books, but you can write the darned things now.

Still up there

I’ve added a new page to check out. Music plays a big role in The Hat series. Lizzie and The Pythons play music as a way to get her out at night and travel around as they explore the supernatural world.

Some of my Story Empire friends suggested that playlists are popular and that I should consider sharing one. I’ve never tried anything like this before, and didn’t have a playbook, so I made my own up.

I have a huge playlist on my phone that goes along with these books. However, I limited this page to things that got mentioned in the books. Videos are bandwidth eaters, so I didn’t want a page of videos to clog up your processors. I went with links to most of them, but included a few videos from key moments in the stories.

I won’t publish The Ballad of Mrs. Molony until later this year, but I included the music up above. Maybe it will inspire some interest in that tale. When I have a link and cover I’ll make sure to update it. I threw in a couple of tiny Lisa Burton posters for flavor. As I get those for Mrs. Molony, I’ll add one for that book, too.

I’m looking for feedback on this page. If you think I need the artists, let me know. Some of the older tunes don’t have great videos available so I went with what I could find.

I should change the wallpaper from Frankie’s brindle coat to something more summery. My zucchini is trying to bloom, so maybe it’s time for some bright yellow flowers.

Let me know what you think, and if the pointers are centered when you visit, you’ll know I used the good editor to fix what this abomination thinks I need.

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A blogging kind of weekend

I didn’t even try to write new fiction this weekend. I only get two days, and Old What’s Her Face was off for both of them. I decided to dedicate my time to blogging.

Most of this is the slow promotion of Grinders. I wrote a post that should go live tomorrow, and I’ll try to find time to share it here. I was also invited to do an interview for an old friend, and that will post next week sometime. My promo is all set through this week.

I’m enjoying this promo tour a lot more than past ones. I can manage two a week, and it’s far superior to multiple posts per day for one week. There could be something to keeping the book in the public eye for a longer period of time.

I also wrote and scheduled my next post for Story Empire. I’m working my way through the Character Archetypes over there, and most of them have been pretty fun. This post was work. The Trickster is an odd character to write about, and there are nearly as many opinions about it as there are writing blogs. I have it ready to post later this month, and there is time to tweak it here and there.

Aside from that, welcome to Daylight Savings Time. There is a bill running through the Idaho Legislature to pick one and stay with it all year. Of course it didn’t happen in time to prevent us from changing today. I really don’t care, but know it bothers a lot of people. I need to call my parents this morning, but I’m dragging my feet. Mom probably won’t adopt DST until she gets up this morning.

We managed date night last night, since it was payday. We went to Old Chicago for beer and pizza. I’m halfway toward earning my St. Patrick’s Day tee shirt. We can go back the next payday and complete it. After that we stopped off for tennis balls and Nylabones. It’s not like the dogs are neglected, and sometimes we ought to remember the marketing is designed to hook people.

I’d like to do some reading, but between feisty dogs with new toys, and Old What’s Her Face, it might not happen.

I noticed that I haven’t had a lot of images here lately. All blog posts are better with graphics, and I know that. So here’s a picture of Otto, trying to talk Mom into taking him for coffee. He likes the ride, the baristas all pet him, and he gets one called a pupaccino.

Mom, it’s time to go.

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Well, it happened

WordPress updated their app to the new block editor. There was the old editor which worked extremely well. Then there was the new editor which everyone hated, causing them to dig deep and keep using the old editor. Then the new block editor came along AKA Gutenberg.

For the most part, everyone hates this one, too. I figured I’d have to adapt or die, so I used it earlier today. I’m using it right now. As far as text goes, it’s no big deal.

My first experience was assembling a promotion post for a friend. I prepared and scheduled it here, then opened the old editor to add links and graphics. That’s workable, but not as cool as being able to do it all here. I like to left justify book covers and author photos. I’m going to try an experiment right here. I want to add a left justified image to this block of text. – Nope. Didn’t work. It can go above or below this paragraph, but not left justified right here.

I started writing my next Story Empire post. This one is about The Herald character. There is a certain amount of research that goes into these, too. It’s part of my Character Archetypes series over there. If you missed out on The Ally, you can click the link in this paragraph.

I’m also dabbling at some promotion for Grinders. Once again, I’m trying something new. This time I prepared a list of topics. I’m emailing that list around to my hosts. Once they choose, I’ll write the post, then do a strike-through on that topic, and add the date it will post. This is an attempt to spread promo out, keep each post original, and avoid traffic when everyone posts at once. Might work well – might be a complete disaster, but I’m doing it this way.

After I sort out each one, I’ll forward the list to my next host and let them choose. Maybe this way I can keep it going for two weeks, and won’t have to reblog several posts in one day. I’m also staying open to suggestions, because maybe someone has a theme going on their specific blog, and I can custom write something for that.

Early sales and reviews matter for a book. If you might be interested in Grinders, the image in the sidebar is linked. I think people are going to like this one, but I always feel that way. Other things you can do are to add it on Goodreads, express interest in it on BookBub, and to share it on your social media.

I don’t see myself getting any new words down this weekend. I only get two days, and Sundays are always tougher. Maybe I can get more posts about Grinders prepared and have those ready.

Today is Mom’s birthday, so I called her. I’ll still call them tomorrow. I like to stay in touch, and if some small bit of time is what it costs, it’s worth it.

We’re going to work in a small date night tonight, and might rent a movie. I also need to pay the bills sometime this weekend. Mundane stuff, but it all matters.

Hope you guys are having a good weekend out there doing some fun things.

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2020 Business Plan

I just recapped 2019 (Link) and consider it a success. It wasn’t exactly profitable, but I learned some things and was able to publish three titles last year.

One of the main things is that I can write more than one story at a time. I call the secondary one my side project and chip away at it when my main project bogs down. I’ve been known to park my brain for weeks dwelling on a plot issue, then hit the keyboard after I’ve worked it all out. It’s worse while working on my trilogy.

By having a side project, those lost weeks are pointed elsewhere, and somehow the main problem works itself out anyway. My side project jumps ahead, and when it’s time for it to emerge from its cocoon as the main project, I may be 50K words into it.

It’s kind of like how I keep multiple storyboards going. I always have something ready to start.

I intend to keep doing this in 2020. I don’t have a side project right now, but once HMS Lanternfish hits somewhere around 50K words, I’m going to start another one.

I finally wrote that cyberpunk story I’ve been bringing up for years. It needs a cover, a final read through, and formatting, but it’s very close. I enjoyed taking modern problems and poking them with a stick to see how our world might look in a hundred years. It’s called Grinders, and will be coming your way in early 2020.

With an incredible stroke of luck, I could release it for Chinese New Year. This is the Year of the Rat, a big part of the story goes down at the parade in San Francisco, where it is also the Year of the Rat, and a couple of rats play an important role in the story. Yours Truly is also Year of the Rat. That’s some serious juju right there, and I’d like to publish it then.

I don’t think it’s a deal killer if I don’t hit that target, the best laid plans of rats and men, etc.

Grinders is my stand-alone title for 2020. Sequels will eat up the rest of the time. I can’t seem to give up stand-alone work, and it’s something I really enjoy.

As far as sequels are concerned, I need to produce the next Lanternfish tale in 2020. I’m working diligently on it, and would love to have it available before the schools get out. My track record at that deadline is horrible. I don’t seem to have any luck with summer releases, so I dream of having it ready before then.

Another loose target is the Halloween season. I have this earmarked for the next story about Lizzie and The Hat. They are finally going to face actual vampires. This won’t be anything like you’ve seen before, and will take place mostly in the country music environment. They’re going to have to stalk their enemy across rodeo dances, county fairs, and such. There are some fun scenes already planned out, and Lizzie is going to tire quickly of this kind of music.

There is also a new character that I can’t wait to bring into the tale. I see him as a possible recurring character. If you’re old enough, you remember how James Garner always seemed to have that one smarmy guy show up in his work. My new character will fill that role, and could fit into future stories. Besides, he has a speech impediment that The Hat will make fun of. That brings out Lizzie’s “social justice warrior” and adds a few fun interactions.

This story will be the side project once I nudge Lanternfish along a bit. After it moves into the main slot, I might start another side project. This one would be a post-apocalyptic story with many earmarks of a western. I will also return to first person POV in this one.

This is an ambitious year, but I think I can make it happen. I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve after last year. First is that Grinders is already written, much like the first Lanternfish book was. Second is that stories about Lizzie and The Hat are generally short novels. If it works, the post-apocalyptic thing could be ready prior to 2021.

I have one problem that I’m trying to sort out. Maybe you can help me with that. I’m convinced that my best promotional effort is to publish the next book. Being a self publisher is a numbers game. I’ve been around long enough to see people fade after a book or two. I’m not one of those people.

Readers could take authors more seriously with a number of titles under their belt. That’s pure theory, and they would have to be good stories. I feel like I’ve reached that level, and could attract new readers by having a decent catalog of titles.

The problem arises in timing of those releases. I ran into a problem of releasing two books sixty days apart. Viral Blues did well enough, but I think Serang suffered because of this. This is a complex problem, but here are some of the factors to consider.

• I have a personal phobia of the summer months for a new release. I’ve never done well during summer, but that limits me to the nine other months. That becomes a book every three months during the sweet spot.

• Promotional fatigue is a real thing. It hits my blog followers, online circle, and it hits me, too. I will need to identify many more sites to promote my work. I don’t want to wear out my regular group of hosts. I like my hosts and regulars. I want to balance being a friend, offering my space to them, and being able to promote my own projects on occasion.

• Lanternfish is a trilogy. I don’t expect much fanfare for the second book other than from those who loved the first one. In my imagination, book two may sell better after the trilogy concludes. With this thought, could a summer release for book two serve just as well? That would help spread things out around the year. Am I selling the second book of a trilogy short?

• Could a blog tour with two or more books on the same tour have any benefit? This would cut down the number of promo posts, but each title would have to share stops along the tour. Is there a way to use pre-release sales in this scheme? You can have one book right now, and the other will be delivered in 60 days?

• Does the crack dealer method still work? Meaning does a giveaway for book one help move sales for book two or three? It used to work, but has that also changed?

Personally, I don’t like the idea of giving my work away. If $2.99 is going to break someone’s budget, they’d be better of paying the power bill. I have to admit, there might be a strategic advantage to some freebies. There used to be one, but things change so fast I don’t know anymore.

As far as titles that could serve as the gateway drug to my writing, The Playground kind of leads to Viral Blues. The Hat leads to Viral Blues and any other book in the series. Serang and Voyage of the Lanternfish could serve the same purpose for the Lanternfish trilogy. Honestly, 2020 might be too soon for this concept, but I’m open to suggestions if you have them.

I want to keep blogging two to three times per week. Yeah, it’s a place to talk about my work, but it serves its own purpose, too. I like chatting with you guys. I’m not afraid to talk about my writing efforts, but sometimes you get bulldogs, sourdough bread, camping trips and other things that add a bit of quality to life.

Otto is helping Dad today.

Story Empire has been a good thing for me, too. It challenges me to come up with appropriate topics, and while I don’t always pull it off, I come fairly close to the mark. I don’t know how much more I have to share there, but there are always new writers coming along, so revamping some things might be possible. That usually takes me a couple of times per month, so I’ll be seeing many of you over there during 2020.

These are ambitious goals, but they are within reach. I might not hit all of them, but I intend to give it my best effort. I hope you guys will come along for the ride. Do you ever make a business plan for the year?

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