Tag Archives: comments

Temporarily out of service

My daughter just headed home. I always love seeing her, and we had a nice visit. She and Old What’s Her Face went shopping yesterday while I was at work, so I know they had a nice visit too.

Her work schedule isn’t one that allows actual full weekends, so we take what we can get.

The blog tour for Lanternfish is officially over. (Try not to cheer too loud.) This is the longest tour I’ve ever done, but I had a lot of hosting offers and didn’t want to let anyone down.

I’ve always been blessed in that my regulars will follow the tours, at least in part. Some of you made every stop and I’m so grateful for you. This is a benefit to those who hosted me too. It increases their blog volume, and they might gain a new follower along the way. My hosts were all pretty interesting people, so it’s fun to get acquainted that way.

We sold some books, had some fun conversations, and kept each post unique. It’s pretty tiring though. I have a habit of checking the comments for several days. I don’t want anyone to think I snubbed them. Every night, I surfed back across four or five posts to see if there were new comments. I’ll keep doing that for the last couple of posts.

It’s time to kick back and watch for reviews. Hopefully, there will be some. I try to reblog those that do blog reviews, but Amazon is what I’m watching.

My mind is filled with creative ideas this morning, but I’m not going to do any writing. This is a good weekend to spend some time with the Muse. I need to string some scenes into the overall plot of my stories. A bit of thought makes for better tales.

Work was crazy this week too, and is scheduled to continue into next week.

Right now, I’m watching the original Star Wars, except it’s the one they added extra crap to. They should have just left it alone.

We hope to work in date night tonight. No specific plans, but probably dinner somewhere. (Update, Old What’s Her Face just made reservations at PF Chang’s.)

For me, I’ll check blog comments, but otherwise, I’m temporarily out of service.

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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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Let’s talk about blogging

I admit to not being the best blog friend lately. In my defense, I've been kind of busy. One of the things I did was to create a list in WordPress. I follow over a thousand blogs, but those who interact went in that list. When I'm pressed for time, I limit myself to that list.

Blogging seems to have slowed down from my point of view. I've been at this since the Fall of 2013, and I suppose that makes me an old timer. People come and go, and I've gotten used to that. I had many friends who simply disappeared for various reasons. It seemed like new bloggers came along, but lately that isn't the case.

Maybe I should clarify a bit. New ones are out there, but they seem to be different. This is reflected in the stats: My views are up, but my likes and comments are down. I miss the interaction.

I've discovered a few new blogs over the past year. I tried courting them, but I get nothing back in return. Maybe you know this game. You comment on an interesting post or two. Maybe you get a “thanks,” or a comment like. They never visit my blog.

This doesn't make the person's blog any less interesting, but interaction is important to me. If I get interaction, I'm likely to keep up and leave comments. If it's a one way street, I don't have time for that.

I find it odd that the likes have gone down on my blog, but the views are way up. I had a couple of posts this year that did phenomenally well, but they never made it onto my top ten posts.

For the top ten, I use a WordPress widget. I had it set to track likes as the criteria. The post about Spying With Lana had thousands of views, but didn't get the 45 likes to make my top ten. This is odd, because the percentage of likes to views has changed.

My post about writing a short story went crazy thanks to Flipboard. Again, thousands of views. Never gained enough likes to make the list. There were more commenters than likes.

Recently, I changed the widget to track views instead. This screwed everything up to be honest. The post about my PSA and prostate warning should still be in the top ten. My “about me” page should too. Spying With Lana should show up too, but doesn't. This setting seems to only track the last week of posts for some reason. It said it takes about two days to fully adjust, so I'll monitor the situation.

I still get a few people who like every post, but never comment. I always assume they like it from the WordPress Reader, but don't actually read the posts. I know everyone gets a few of these, and don't give it a second thought.

The fact is that I've noticed a change in blogging. This is data, and it probably means something. What can I do with the data to move my writing career ahead?

I love blogging, and the friends I've made here. I have no intention of giving it up. My readers come for various reasons, but I have a small loyal crowd.

Is it time for me to look for an additional platform? It isn't just the followers and friends. This is an author site, and I want to build interest in my books. Is there something extra I should be doing?

I've had private conversations with some fellow authors, and the consensus is that fewer bloggers are willing to help these days. This is a limited group, but it concerns me. Authors need hosts for cover reveals, promotions, excerpts, and more. I've always helped, and intend to keep helping, but again… This is data, and it means something, even if I don't know what.

When I asked for beta readers for The Playground, I had two people take me up on it. This is in stark contrast to The Experimental Notebook where I started turning people away after seven volunteers.

I will always need beta readers, but if I have to start paying for them, I might stop publishing altogether. My writing journey has never been about the money, but I need to break even. I still get the journey of self improvement without the worry of promotion.

I admit these are limited observations. Maybe a bigger view would produce different data. So I have a few questions for you as bloggers and as authors.

My views are exponentially higher than 2015. This is great! My likes and comments are down, and that's odd. What does this mean? Are people just stopping by to collect new Lisa Burton art? They're welcome to it, of course, (I use them for iPad and iPhone backgrounds too) but a comment or two goes a long way.

Could it be that I'm reaching more people beyond WordPress, and it isn't simple for them to like or comment? If so, that's great. I've run into that problem myself, and understand.

Are fellow authors having a harder time getting help with promotions, hosts, and pushes?

Have I missed the newest form of social media somewhere, and need to jump on the bandwagon?

Do you prefer interaction, or would you rather have people read and move on?

Has anyone else courted an interesting blogger, but the relationship never happened? Maybe I'm strange that way.

In any case, I'm on vacation for a few days, and hope to get some writing done. Today was all about errands, and those are out of the way. I'll probably post a little more frequently this weekend, and I'll try to catch up on some blog reading. I promise to like the posts I read.

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What the heck?

Yesterday I posted a short story tip I thought people might enjoy. I kind of expected the usual suspects would give me about 60 views, maybe a reblog from someone who likes writing tips.

When I woke up this morning, that kind of looked like the case. A good post by my usual standards, some nice comments. Then I checked my stats. This post had over 450 views.

I thought one of the heavy hitters might have reblogged my post, but that wasn't the case. There are no reblogs.

I dug deeper, and my new visitors all came from Flipboard. This is the outfit that absorbed Zite magazine who I really loved. I have it set up to gather topics of interest for me. One of the things I can do is set up my own magazine, so I did that a few months ago and called it Entertaining Stories. Unless I'm just whining, I throw a link to my posts in there and don't pay a ton of attention to it. I've also thrown out posts by friends when they have a new release, or something particularly interesting.

I've shared all of the Lisa Burton Radio posts there in an attempt to drive my guests some traffic. Same thing for blog tour guests.

To be real honest with you, I thought it might be Facebook, or even StumbleUpon. I never expected this kind of traffic from Flipboard.

When I went to check it out, I was the top article in two different writing categories. I snapped a photo to share it with you.

Geez, if I'd have thought everyone was coming over I'd have gone with a book cover or something instead of my bronze bust.

The rest of the stats are kind of baffling. Take a look at these:

I'm over 2000 views at the time of this writing, and it's still climbing. Most of those people probably aren't in the WordPress system, because I only have 27 likes. This is my most popular post of all time, but without the likes it won't get into my top 10 in the sidebar.

Don't take this as a complaint. I'm happy to get action anyplace I can. That also means a few people read one of my micro-fiction pieces. There are even a few sales of Notebook to sweeten the deal.

Now if I could only figure out something intelligent to say about my other books, I'd be golden. I have no idea how to duplicate this process, but maybe something will come to me.

You can bet one thing, I'm going to be sharing more posts on Flipboard. This is another reason to have your characters appear on Lisa Burton Radio too, because I'm sharing the posts there.

I'm off to Atlanta in the morning. I'll probably manage a short update from the road, but I expect to be pretty busy.

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Friday night from my easy chair

The Amazon giveaway for Will O' the Wisp ended in one day. I gave away all three copies of the book, and hope the winners enjoy it. Actually, I hope they're moved to post nice reviews. If I'm really fortunate, they'll browse my other wares too.

I mentioned there would be some re-blogging around here this week. It's the least I can do to support my hosts. They loaned me their space, and I hope they get some visitors out of the deal. I'm still surfing back through and participating in the comments.

Commenters are intrigued by The Playground, and that's awesome. I understand that not everyone will buy a copy while it's on pre-sale, but many added it to their reading lists, and I'm grateful. Some of you added it on Goodreads too, and that really helps.

Some of you tweeted my guest posts like warriors, and I'm overwhelmed. I can see how it's done now, and will step up my game when you have something to promote. A ten minute tweet is already dead, but one per hour might actually get some readers.

I did some pushing on Facebook too, but that's been lukewarm at best. Part of it is because I'm new there. I need more friends, and that takes time.

The hottest post this week was Lisa Burton Radio. Spying with Lana grabbed the most views this bit has ever had. It's been my top post for three days in a row. This is looking like a good place to promote your books, and I think it will improve over time.

That's about it for this post. My writing has been all over WordPress this week, in the form of guest posts, and other things. A couple of excerpts from The Playground gathered some good attention, and the Lisa posts are always popular.

After all that writing, I'm kind of tired. I need to get back to new fiction, but it may be another week. Right now, I'll probably tour back through my host's sites and check for comments. Have a great weekend, and if you're offline for a few days, have a Happy Easter.

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Weekend review

I return to my paycheck job tomorrow. All told, it was a busy and productive weekend. I posted a promo for my appearance on blog talk radio Friday to drive folks to listen in and participate. I followed this up with a semi aggressive Twitter campaign Saturday morning.

My instructions were to call a telephone number fifteen minutes before the show started. My host, Beem Weeks answered and we chatted on the lead up to showtime. He asked if I was nervous. I told him that I’ve been on radio before, and do a bit of public speaking. I suppose I could have simply answered “no.”

I wasn’t a bit nervous. Then this lady with a British accent interrupted and told us it was ten minutes until showtime. It’s a pretty good way to make sure everything comes together perfectly. Except the countdown lady picks up her pace as the time gets nearer, and she sounds just like this:

Okay, I’m nervous now! It went off without a hitch. All the questions were sent in by members of the Rave Reviews Book Club. I checked the hashtag after the show, but didn’t recognize anyone outside the club. Maybe they had to pay people to show up?

I think it went well, and we had a good time. One fellow said he bought Experimental Notebook while we were on the air. By the end of the day he left me an amazing five star review. It’s a short quick read, and finishing it all at once is entirely possible.

It’s been archived now, and you can listen in any old time you like. You just can’t participate. Here is the link.

We picked up our winterized camper and put it away for the year. We also had them do some little warranty things while they had it. We followed up with date night at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

I managed to post the final installment of assessing the promotional stuff. These three posts were pretty well received, but it’s pretty obvious that Amazon advertising got the most interest.

I’ve been playing around with my new apps to make pictures specifically for Twitter. It seems nobody reads the tweets without a picture. This one, for The Cock of the South, performed pretty well.

There is a little bar graph icon on Twitter that will tell you if anyone saw it, retweeted it, or opened your purchase link.

So far, people are opening the link on every post. They aren’t leading to sales, and maybe that’s my blurb not doing its job.

This post for The Experimental Notebook didn’t perform quite as well, but it did perform.

I have several more ideas in mind that might draw some attention. I took a photo of my soup ladle today, and can mention The Soup Ladle of Destiny on my next campaign.

Today, I made oxtail soup. (Why the ladle was out.) I did all this while lurking on an author chat room where we talked about a couple of books.

Charles Yallowitz and I posted our Point – Counterpoint, and I think it was a rousing success. It got a ton of comments, and several people asked us to do it again some time. It’s still gaining comments right now. You can check it out over at Charles’ blog. I’ll tour back through a few more times today and tomorrow and respond to everyone.

That’s about it, other than stealing some time to read a good book. I wish my Apple Pencil would hurry up and get here. I could use it to create images for Twitter. Lisa would look good standing before the flames to promote her short story, Bombshell Squad.

I still need to play around more with PhotoFunia. That’s my other new app, but this image performed pretty well. I used a filter on it, and it stopped a lot of people for a few seconds on Twitter.

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The Monday shuffle

I got up early this morning. My main plan was simply to read, and not much more. I started my day off with blogs. I follow hundreds of blogs these days, and I've gotten better at browsing them. I also have some I never miss, no matter what. This lasted until my daughter got out of bed.

We had a nice talk, and I vowed long ago that the world could take a backseat to my discussions with her. She's 21 now, and Dad isn't as big a part of her life these days. When I get the chances, I don't pass them up.

When she headed for work, I tore into the novel I'm reading. I'm past the half way mark right now, and excited to see where it's going. Yes, I could have done more, but my daughter intervened.

Critique group went well tonight. I knew where I was going to get called out, and this excites me. It means I'm capable of spotting my own weak spots, now I have to figure out how to wear that hat when I need it.

I checked my Amazon progress tonight. There haven't been any recent sales, but there are a lot of pages being read via Amazon Prime, or the lending library. I think that's pretty cool.

Now might be a good time to mention that all of my titles are available for free as part of your Amazon Prime subscription. It's all the same to me, and if borrowing the books works for you go for it. Even my 99¢ Notebook has been read this way. I wonder if it pays more on a paid-per-page basis than the 99¢ I'm asking. I'm happy in either case.

There were some great comments on the post about stakes in fiction. This is what blogging is all about for me. Thanks for weighing in everyone.

Right now, I'm enjoying an Elysian Brewing Punkuccino. It's a pumpkin beer with coffee, and it's very good. I'll probably spend a bit of time with a paper magazine I'm almost finished with, then it's back to the paycheck job tomorrow.

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Monday is one of my regular days

As far as the glamorous life of an author goes, I spent a large portion of my day sharpening the kitchen knives. Things are well honed around here, let me tell you. I still have two to go.

I spent some time returning to those sites who did either a cover reveal, or posted a review. I like to play along in the comments. There is some cool stuff coming this week too.

I didn't get a lot of people jumping up and down to provide Macabre Macaroni art. There is still time to play along. Don't be afraid. I love tacky. Have you seen my Uncle Sam image?

For those who are new, I'm doing Macabre Macaroni again during the month of October. This involves me posting a weekly micro-fiction throughout the month. I thought it might be fun to include some of your artwork along with the stories. The theme is Macabre Macaroni. Let's see what you've got.

Short post tonight. Those last two knives aren't going to sharpen themselves.

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Not quite a meltdown

In case you haven't noticed, I've been a bit busy lately. My regular writing week includes visiting your blogs and participating in the comments when it's appropriate. I try to post every day except Tuesday and Thursday. These are usually when I invite guests bloggers over. (Hint, this is my Friday post.)

Whenever I can steal a few hours, that becomes my writing time. I thought I might get a few hours today, but it wasn't meant to happen. There is just too much going on.

Guests and invites are becoming a regular, and welcome occurrence. This week I was interviewed by Mandy Eve Barnett, and did a blog swap with Ali Isaac. (Crawfish Boy, I crack myself up sometimes.) These would have happened in any normal week, and I enjoyed both invitations.

I volunteered to help Charles Yallowitz spread the word about his newest book, Sleeper of the Wildwood Fugue. Charles was so helpful that he provided a complete post, along with instructions for how to post it. It only took me a few seconds to upload. The graphics and everything were included and formatted. Awesome!

On top of this normal week, I also took Will O' the Wisp out for a blog tour. Just in case there is someone in this star system who doesn't know, I have a new book out and would like people to read it. It's the big one in my sidebar.

I hired 4-Wills Publishing to take care of the details, and I'm glad I did. All I had to do was email the posts, along with the peripheral materials and they took care of the rest.

They took care of a few extras too that I didn't expect. When I got an email about what to give away for my Rafflecopter promotion, my first thought was, What's a Rafflecopter? I thought it was some kind of crowd funding site. They are taking care of everything, so I don't have to worry about it. I told them I'd give away copies of Will O' the Wisp. I still don't know how it works, but I'm in it up to my neck now. Who knows, maybe someone will win a copy and really enjoy it. Tell your friends, etc.

They also set me up with a Goodreads author event. I'm supposed to be there tomorrow between 12:00 and 2:00 CST. I hope they meant daylight savings time. I'm on mountain time, so that would be 11:00 and 1:00 for me, unless they really meant standard time. I've never participated in this format before, so it's a test to see if I can figure it out.

4-Wills also set me up with this cool web-page. It lists all the places along the tour, provides a link to the Rafflecopter, and allegedly tells us all how to find the author event. I'm extremely grateful for the folks who volunteered to host this shindig. Which brings me to another topic…

Etiquette. That's right, a bearded old curmudgeon is going to talk about etiquette. Emily Post died several decades before we had the Internet to worry about, so it's been every-man-for-himself out there. I have a personal code about this, and I do my best to follow it. It's based upon this premise: Someone out there did me a solid favor.

When someone does me a kindness, it's up to me to return the favor. When Mari Wells posts an awesome review, or Mandy Eve Barnett interviews me, or Ali Isaac agrees to a blog swap – I'm going to reblog the posts. This is my attempt to drive them some blog traffic. I'm also going to surf back through and participate in the comments, because it matters. I generally surf back through for three days to a week, so comment away. This is important, because if someone comments on another blog I don't get notified. I have to check in.

Add in all the wonderful folks who hosted the blog tour, and there's been a whole lot of reblogging going on around here. If my blog is your only point of contact, it might seem a little repetitious. Please remember that these people did a favor for me, and they might be the kind of people you want to associate with one day yourself. Please consider visiting them and checking out their blogs.

In other news, critique group went well last night. I sent them two micro fictions and one that reaches into short story territory. They were well received, and I got a few good suggestions. Sometime this weekend I need to go through them and make changes. I'm struggling with what to submit next month. More short stuff or the first part of my new novel project?

I also forced myself to get a haircut today. (Inspired by Sue Nichols.) My daughter did a great job. My wife really ought to take me out this weekend. I am some serious eye candy right now.

What do you folks have to say? Has anyone messed around with Rafflecopter? Do you believe in blogging etiquette? Are your rules different than mine? Is anyone else out there so busy they can't think straight?

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Oh WordPress, what’s next?

I give WordPress credit for improving the comments bar. I still prefer the old idea where I could go to a page of nothing but comments, follows, likes, awards, etc. this new version at least gives me a filter to look at only comments. 

I have a new problem though, plus the return of an old problem. It’s probably an iOS issue, but it exists. If I want to like a comment, the icon registers and immediately unregisters my action. I have no idea whether my idea registered at the other end.

Whenever I respond to a comment, the wheel thingie just keeps spinning. It used to make one cycle and my reply was posted. Now, I have no idea. I have to visit that specific site and check comments to see if it worked. I always respond to comments, even if it’s just to like them. I’m embarrassed to think I might have missed someone.

The reboot issue has returned with a vengeance too. If I read a post, I have to log back in every single time to read the next one. Does WordPress have any idea how frustrating it is to go through 12 hours of posts like this?

WordPress is hell bent on changing things up. They aren’t going to be dissuaded by their users. I believe they owe it to us to make something that actually works. 

If you’ve commented, and I failed to respond in some fashion, I’m sorry. I attempt to respond to everyone. It makes me angry that WordPress is making me look bad. 

Get it together, WordPress. 

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