Tag Archives: magazines

Tips, tricks, and plans

October is bearing down upon us. This has always been my favorite month of the year. I would happily trade January or August for an extra October. It's also always been my best month for sales. This is probably because I have a few paranormal titles in my catalog.

I plan to hit it hard in October. I have a few guest posts that will appear, and you may find some new blogs to follow at the host sites. I still have time to write a couple more if you know of an October event that I should participate in.

There are also a couple of blog tours via my Story Empire crowd. We'll be giving away prizes and hope to make a big splash. Follow Story Empire to keep up with what's going on over there.

I intended to make the tips & tricks part of this into a Story Empire post, but there is a five person rotation and it would be November before it posted. Over here I can weave in some of my individual plans too.

I intend to use some of the Amazon tools during October. I may run an ad campaign. I'm almost certain to have a sale, or even some free days. Keeping the October theme going, I'll probably focus on The Playground, Will O' the Wisp, and Panama. Both Experimental Notebooks fit the bill too, but since they're 99ยข I don't see how a sale would work. I may do some Facebook boosting too.

Last year, I invited people to provide artwork for Macabre Macaroni. My idea was that some budding cover artists might like a place to showcase their work. I was even happy with grandchildren who glued dried macaroni to a paper and made art. I never got a single taker, and there was no artwork last year. This year I'm taking a different approach. I commissioned a piece of art to accompany the micro-fiction. Macabre Macaroni will post every Tuesday in October.

I'm a little slow on the uptake at times, but I learned a Twitter trick. There are people out there who support me heavily. They make custom tweets about my books, or maybe a post they found entertaining. I want to reciprocate that support, and found their pinned tweets to be handy as hell. They made them, they want them shared, and they're right at the top of their timelines. There is one lady who changes her pinned tweet every day, others leave them for a week or so.

The gears move slowly, but what if I created my own pinned tweet to help them out? I've been doing this, and find it respectful of their time, and helpful to my cause. I'll probably create a graphic of some kind, like this:

In the 140 characters I can say something clever and include the Amazon link. I will try to change it up +/- weekly so it doesn't get stale. Twitter is a volume game. A million people see your tweet, and maybe one buys the book. It does produce sales though, so something that catches the eye might work.

The point is that you should be using a pinned tweet too. I've scrolled through dozens of hundreds of tweets to find something to support an author with. They probably appreciate me sharing their book tweet, but not the picture of their lunch. A pinned tweet is right on top where it's easy to find.

Moving to the next one, sharing buttons. Not everyone is using them on their blogs. I'm happy to share, but again, I may not take the time to create my own post from scratch. I'm now encouraging visitors to use mine on the Lisa Burton Radio posts. This way my guests get a bit more exposure. The sharing buttons are easy to set up through WordPress, and you may want to check them out.

While you're deep inside the guts of WordPress, are you auto-feeding your posts on other social media? I have mine set to feed right into the Entertaining Stories Facebook page, Goodreads, and to tweet the link out. Easy-peasy, and I don't have to do this individually.

This next tip might be worth the price of admission. I think there could be something to what the world is calling curated content. There are a number of apps and social media options out there. I'll even provide links, but I want to talk about them a bit first.

I started out with an extinct platform called Zite Magazine. I used it for news I couldn't get anywhere else. It provided many of the Idea Mill articles. If I liked something, I could give it a thumbs up to get more articles like it. If I gave it a thumbs down, it learned not to send me data about the Kardashians.

Unfortunately, they were absorbed by Flipboard. Flipboard promised the same experience, only better-faster-stronger, yada yada. It failed on this front, but there is a silver lining.

Flipboard will let you create your own magazine. I decided, since I was already there, to test it out. I call mine Entertaining Stories. (Branding and all that.) I selectively share my blog posts there, and occasionally share other items of interest, like when one of you has something wonderful, or Sean Harrington shares a Lisa poster on his DeviantArt site.

Most days I can see a few visitors from Flipboard. On occasion it goes absolutely crazy. I posted a bit of micro-fiction about Lisa this week that had over two-hundred visitors from Flipboard. See the image to remind you of the post.

A few months ago, I shared a post about a short story trick. It involved the twist endings I use in some of the short form. I had over 2000 visitors that found me via Flipboard. It still gets action to this day.

Here is the link for Flipboard.


We're still on curated content, but I'm drifting again. (Bear with me.) I've written before about what I call “white noise.” Feeds on all social media have become so much white noise. Twitter is the worst, and my regular feed is like a firehose of data. I scroll through until I see something that catches my eye. Catching my eye has become the new trick. Facebook is similar, and so is WordPress.

I follow a ton of blogs. I can't read them all, so something has to catch my eye in the regular stream. I have my “must read” blogs and they got on the list by engaging and by posting great content.

Re-blogging is a double edged sword. I love it when someone shares my post. I like to share the awesome stuff here too on occasion. It's hard to get much engagement on a re-blog. The original poster is the one where the interaction occurs.

There are some bloggers who share a dozen posts per day, and never seem to offer original content. One of these curated content options might be a great way for them to spread the word. Flipboard is only one, here are a few others.

I have not used these, but I might someday soon. It could be a way to extend my tentacles online without too much effort.

The first one is called paper.li It is like having your own magazine, or newspaper if you prefer. You get to share whatever you want with your subscribers. One of my author friends is testing this out right now, and I hope to learn how it works for him.

The other one is called RebelMouse. This is a similar product. I really don't know the advantages of one over the other.

It seems to me like this could be the way for me to replace the original use I had for Zite Magazine. If I could find a couple of curators who deal with macabre stuff, and some cutting edge science, it could be useful.

It also seems like a place that's ripe for mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers. Flipboard, paper.li, and RebelMouse are all doing nearly the same thing. (One sells to Microsoft, one to Apple, and one to Google.) That wasn't the point of my post though.

These sites are helpful. My content has been shared on all of them by others. I need to check out paper.li and RebelMouse, but before I dive in they have to be easy and fast. Any of us would like more exposure, but my time is limited.

In the case of Flipboard, there is an app for that. I find that to be an advantage. I did not find apps for the other sites.

In my case, all roads lead to this blog. If you find me on Twitter, Facebook, or Flipboard, even Goodreads, there is likely something that leads you back here. That's my system, but there may be others that work better. If you have a better way, share it in the comments. I'd like to know, and I'll bet my regulars would too.

Do you have any experience with RebelMouse or paper.li? I'd like to get some input on these platforms. If I take one of them on, it will probably be part of my 2017 business plan. I'm just gathering data right now.

Are you going to create a pinned tweet? I think it's a great way to let your supporters help spread the word.

Are you going to set up sharing buttons on your own blog? Feel free to test mine out.

Do you know of any October events I should be taking advantage of? Are you hosting one, and need some players?


Filed under Blogging, Writing

Well, that was strange…

Date night. Saturday night. Anytown, USA. You get a hot tip on a good restaurant, and decide to try it out. Steak and shrimp, the specialty of the house. You do an Internet search to make sure they are as good as your tip said. This place is famous for their gigantic prawns. Maybe you download a Groupon; it's always good to save a buck.

Your spouse presses your shirt. It's the one night a week when it's just the two of you. You drive to the restaurant, and the parking lot is full; a good sign. The cars are all top marques , another good sign. You place your hand upon the horseshoe doorknob, give it a good swing and hold it for your wife…

Cue the music, motherfu****. You've just entered The Twilight Zone.

My pupils narrow, and I'm blinded temporarily by the sea of white. The tint in my bifocals darkens until I can see the light is coming from the white hair from the patrons. The decor is dark tongue and groove wood with wrought iron trimmings. Ancient photos and replicas of famous western paintings hang on every wall.

I check the menu. Did I wander into The Golden Corral by mistake? No, we're in the right place. It's like walking into the best restaurant in town, in 1974.

The place has a Hotel California vibe to it, in that the patrons never left. I'm relatively certain the lady with the walker must have won a Lindy Hop competition at some time in her past. The man swirling his whiskey and Coke looks like a retired barnstormer, for sure. Even the waitstaff has grey hair, our waitress has hers in a grey ponytail. It's probably the same hairstyle she wore to work when she was sixteen.

I looked around for someone more my age. I saw an old man with a pornstache. Those went extinct some time in the last century. Another man had on a cowboy shirt, the kind with the pearl snaps instead of buttons, and pointed pocket flaps. He's snapped up all the way with a bolo tie to finish it off. His high water white slacks reveal pointed black cowboy boots underneath.

When our meal arrives, it involves beef the way they used to serve it. Goddamned near raw, except it's a few degrees warmer than when it was alive. The prawns are gigantic, except they're prepared in the only way I ever saw shrimp until I turned thirty. They're flattened out like a lollipop, breaded, and deep fried. Just like you might find in a box from the frozen food section.

I ate my supper in silence. Fear prevented me from asking if they'd ever heard of scampi, or barbecued prawns. I didn't want to have to stay there forever. We paid the tab.

The meal was great, it was just the height of cuisine from forty years ago.

We hugged each other in the parking lot, glad to have escaped the permanence of the place. Old What's Her Face wanted to go to the mall. I was so happy to be alive, that I agreed.

I celebrated my good fortune with a beer from Old Chicago. She bought some pants and shoes to wear to the theatre tomorrow night. On the way home I stopped for a couple of magazines, the paper kind, like I haven't read in years. These are for stocking in the camper. I picked up Azimov's, Ellery Queen, and Hitchcock's. I even added a copy of the new Heavy Metal magazine, just for fun. The next time my iPad battery dies out camping, I'm ready with some evening entertainment.

It was a decent night. We're never repeating it — ever. There has to be some kind of fusion restaurant, or Tuscan based place around.

I hope all of you had a great Saturday night. Mine was fine, but a little bit scary.


Filed under Uncategorized