Tag Archives: Blogging

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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Life goes on

While I was touring my book around, the world didn’t stop spinning around here. I worked, and we had some unusual visitors at the office. This little guy was photographed from my office window.

He didn’t stay long, but it was fun having him stop by. We also had this visitor, and it’s appropriate for the season.

My iPhone makes it tough to photograph something so tiny, but you can make out his little bat ears at the bottom of the image. He’s only about the size of a walnut, but it was cool seeing him.

In other news, I got the sprinkler system blown out. Old What’s Her Face is on her way home, and we have an appointment to get the camper winterized tomorrow. It seems like winter is determined to show up, so we need to get ready.

I finished reading a book and posted a review. I try to review whatever I read. I look at it like a karma kind of thing. Authors need reviews, so I ought to post them, too. I’ll probably start reading another one before my vacation ends.

New fiction is still taking a back seat. I haven’t written a new word in a month. I’m struggling with the production vs the promotion cycle. I love creating new stories, but hate the promotion part. Honestly, I don’t like getting promotion stuff either, so I assume many people are like me. (Maybe you aren’t, but that’s my mindset right now.)

The questions I’m struggling with are:

  • Should I just bury some of the stories I write? Publish the series work, and keep the stand alone things for myself.
  • What about blog only? I know some who’ve done this, but have no idea what kind of reception it gets. Is it appropriate to release a few chapters over a period of months, then publish, thereby, skipping any blog tour and such? Does this piss people off more?
  • Should I publish them with zero promotion? I know how that works out, but workmanlike promo for every other story could still draw attention.
  • I’ve learned how to write an incredible amount of new fiction. Should I go back to my old ways and produce less?
  • Would it be worthwhile to hold stories, then do a multiple book release with mutual promotion?

I’m interested in what you guys think, so speak up. Do you have any experience with these methods?

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Checking in for the weekend

I had a houseful of company this weekend. It’s just easier to step back and spend family time, than step away from them to keep this place updated.

I usually try to blog around three times per week, more occasionally. With the Viral Blues tour going on, it was pretty simple to reblog wherever I was and keep some original content available.

It occurred to me it might be easier to appear less places per week and spread the tour out. Prior to this release, I crammed about a dozen or more appearances into a ten day period, then went crazy trying to keep up with all of them. Spreading it all out didn’t make it any easier. You try stuff and you learn. It was worth a shot.

If nothing else, it could be more productive, since I’m targeting the Halloween season this time. Maybe there’s someone out there who hasn’t started looking for a story yet. Not everyone gets into Halloween for a long as I do.

All of my posts are original material, so following me around isn’t too boring. By now, my regulars all know about my book. You’ve either gotten a copy, or decided it wasn’t for you. The purpose of touring is to reach a larger audience. My hosts have regulars I haven’t met, or only know peripherally. Maybe one of them will take a chance on me, that’s kind of the theory.

The good news is all the reblogging is about to stop. (Hears a small cheer spread across the blogosphere.) This is because I’m also participating in the Something Wicked tour with my partners over at Story Empire. We’re all taking our show on the road to promote a few suitable Halloween titles. This means I’ll be hosting someone every day next week. My appearances will be on their blogs, but I won’t post over the top of my guests. Here is the Something Wicked tour schedule if you want to check in on any of us.

At Story Empire we try to bring our fellow authors valuable content. Sometimes it involves story craft, others it’s about promotion, all kinds of topics. We’re all authors, too, and we have to promote our own wares occasionally. I hope you guys take advantage of this to meet some outstanding authors, maybe find a new blog to follow, or even just spread the word. I’ll do my best to keep up with the ones I wrote and answer questions, or participate in the comments.

In other news, I have a full work-week ahead of me, then I’m burning some leave time. My goal is to get Serang off to the formatter, then prepare some posts to tour her story around. I’ll have to identify a few hosts and put the touch on them for Serang.

I’m probably crazy for scheduling them so close together, but I don’t see a lot of options. At least my schedule will be clear for whatever comes next.

As far as what comes next, I’d love to get back to HMS Lanternfish. I glanced at it briefly, and don’t even remember some of what I’ve written. Before I take it up again, I’ll have to read it from the beginning to get back into it. That’s one of the bad things about long breaks. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone on this. Promo has to happen, and the break was necessary.

It was a nice family weekend, we had some great seafood one night, and had a good visit. I don’t mind losing some time for that. Hope all of you had wonderful weekends, too.

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Peeking out

I’ve been admittedly quiet around here lately. This is because I’ve been appearing everywhere else. My local efforts haven’t been that interesting, so I’ll just brief on them.

I try to have a couple of posts per week out there, then spend my time supporting those. If you’ve hosted me, you may have seen all the Twitter action and such.

Every weekend, I try to contact a host or two, then write something specifically for them. This tour has been 100% unique material, even though the cover and blurb are the same.

There has also been a surge of interest in Lisa Burton Radio. This takes quite a bit of work, but I like to be there for my fellow authors. I’m not one of those who takes but never gives in that regard.

It honestly doesn’t sound like much, but it’s kept me hopping. I’m enjoying the baseball playoffs to no end this year, but many of those games find me with my iPad across my lap and trying to polish up a post during the game.

Some of you might wonder why you haven’t heard from me for this tour. I will send something if you like, but I have another book coming right on the heels of Viral Blues. I don’t want to wear my usual hosts out, but I’ll need places to promote that book, too.

Part of this weekend is dedicated to whipping Serang into final shape. Most of it involves adding a title and copyright page, a bit of back material, and a fast sweep of the tale itself. If I get everything done, that will make three publications for me this year. I think anyone would admit that’s a pretty busy 2019.

For now, it’s Viral Blues until the end of the month. It has a Halloween theme, and you can read it in a long day. I think it’s funny, and maybe you’d enjoy some seasonal reading.

With this schedule, something had to give. I’m sad to note there is no Macabre Macaroni this year. I never had to time to write some seasonal micro-fiction. Nobody appears to have noticed, but I hope you’re all having a fun Halloween season anyway. Here’s an old MM image of Lisa to hold you over.

Lisa Burton

Old What’s Her Face has a Pirates film festival on today. I adore these movies, and find the music inspirational. They also serve to remind me that I haven’t touched Lanternfish II in over a month. In a perfect world, I would finish this manuscript by the end of the month.

It’s about time for me to knock off, eat some Asian pears, drink a pumpkin beer and find some baseball. (So many Asian pears this year, and they’ve been better than any previous year.)

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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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I’ll take this kind of day

My wife had to work this morning, so I was left to my own devices. What else could I do, I wrote.

Serang and her master made it to an ancient abandoned temple and met up with the only other living monk they know of. This woman is actually from the opposing side of the conflict the governments have going on. I kind of like how the regular people don’t seem to have a skin in this war, but they have to live with its consequences anyway.

The older woman, Tomomi, taught Serang a lesson about tigers by introducing her to a live one. It made for a scary night in the jungle. They returned to a bit of temple life, but it’s going to prove temporary.

I also introduced a fictional animal, just because I can. I called it the hoofed pheasant. It was delicious.

I started writing the part where Serang has to handle a task on her own. This is the first time she hasn’t had a mentor to help her along the way. It will reflect some of the things she should have learned along her journey and test her in some new ways. This task is dangerous, and death is not out of the question.

I expect her to come out the other side a changed woman.

I left her during that task because I ran out of gas. All told, I didn’t keep count again, but it feels like about 4000 words. I’m becoming a pretty good guesser with all these updates.

My idea of publication before school lets out is over. I’m not going to stress about it any longer. Sean isn’t done with my promotional art anyway. I have a cover and one Lisa Burton poster so far. I may hold it for fall now. Summer releases never have been kind to me.

This will pose a new problem, because I want to release The Viral Blues around the Halloween season. I need to finish writing it, but it’s pretty close to complete. I parked it when I was trying to get Serang ready.

I hope to have a completed draft of Serang by mid June, and that leaves me all summer to put the finishing touches to The Viral Blues. It also gives Sean some time to make that cover and the promotional posters for it.

I may be blog tour mad by the time I finish promotion of both books so near each other.

In other news, my sprinkler system is fully repaired and working as I type. I also got my PSA test drawn in anticipation of an annual checkup I have to have. This isn’t a fun checkup, but since I have a problem, it beats the alternative.

I also managed to schedule the first of several posts I’m calling Expansion Packs over at Story Empire. The one about Fairytale Structure will go live later this month.

The convention I signed up for is underway, and they made a second effort at the Cover Wars and Character Battles. I feel like I kind of missed the boat due to the malfunctions. Sean Harrington also promoted it, because it’s all his artwork, but nothing worked.

The new sites seem functional, and my fantasy stuff is holding its own. Both the cover and the root monsters are into round two. This requires more voting.

If you’re so inclined The Lanternfish cover.

The Root Monsters from Lanternfish.

Don’t know if I’ll hit it that hard tomorrow. That’s the day I check in with my parents, but I might find an hour somewhere.

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The author lifestyle

I’ve always updated with warts and all. Seems like lately there have been more warts than cool stuff. It wasn’t in my master plan, but much of it is out of my control.

This is the third weekend in a row that I haven’t been able to write. I’ve done some blog things, and they count. They simply aren’t new fiction.

We watched the Derby yesterday, and I spotted the interference before the race was even over. I may be in the minority, but I agree with the disqualification.

This is the biggest stage in the world for horse racing, and they struggle to survive in this world of extended animal rights. I’ve been at a race where a horse had to be shot, and watched the tractor drag him away. News crews would love that for their headlines, but the sport itself doesn’t need it.

The jockey yesterday put a lot of equine lives at risk, and a few human ones too. This is made more risky by the large field the Derby always has.

We raced out for date night and had a nice dinner at Kahoots. This is one of our regular stopping places. I never learned of the DQ until I googled it later in the evening. It was the right call.

Plans to publish Serang before school lets out are all but gone. I haven’t finished writing it, and there isn’t any time to set up tours and such. Things are about to be incredibly busy at my office, and it’s field trip season for my position too. This poses a new issue.

Summer releases have always sucked for me. Yak Guy is a pretty fair story, but it goes relatively unnoticed for that reason. I can toss Serang to the summer wolves, or hold it back for later. I want to release The Viral Blues in conjunction with the Halloween season. This story seems to still have a realistic publishing goal.

If I hold Serang back, I don’t want to try two releases at the same time. This would make Serang more of a December release, but it has nothing to do with the holidays.

Some of this is my fault, because I’m shooting for three releases this year. It’s a tough goal to meet while holding down a full time job.

I’ve always understood the commercial reasons to write series instead of stand alone novels. I largely ignored it and wrote what I wanted. Right or wrong.

My inner circle talked me into it, so I’m committed now. A series is the one thing I haven’t taken on, and maybe it’s time. Of course, I never do anything half-way…

There are two kinds of series. One kind has an overarching plot, and the other involves more stories in the same universe using the same characters. I’m writing one of each. Lanternfish is intended to become a trilogy. The Hat will have more stories in the same universe.

Many of the overarching series have supporting stories to keep interest going. This is what Serang is. She is a supporting character to Lanternfish who earned her own story.

I mentioned this, because not everyone reads every blog post I throw out there. I’ve probably already talked about all of this in the past. Serang’s job is to preserve interest in the Lanternfish series until I can publish the next volume in 2020. The Hat will return in October.

In a perfect world, Serang would be ready to step on the stage and do her job. This would give me all summer to finish The Viral Blues.

It isn’t a perfect world. I may have to start leaving the house on Saturdays for a few mornings just so I can meet my goals.

They say all blog posts perform better with a picture of some kind. It has nothing to do with writing, but enjoy a picture of Otto falling asleep on his feet.

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