Tag Archives: promotions

2018, better than last year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Time Management

Being an author in this era seems to involve working on multiple projects at once. There are ruminations that lead to outlines. There is the drafting of new material. Promotion is also required. Maybe this is as simple as making a tweet or two, but some days it involves updating the blog, maybe writing some guest posts for someone.

In my case, I still owe The Storyreading Ape some posts. I have no less than four Lisa Burton Radio slots in the works. I'm working with Sean Harrington on some generic Lisa art that I can use for various purposes, and possibly recycle without making you tired of them. Then there is research for new projects, promo art for the next books, and some reading that I'm behind on.

The common denominator is time.

There's only so much of this stuff to go around, and when things pile up something has to give. Some of you may have noticed that I skipped blogging last night. I also have a life away from this iPad, and tend to neglect it a little too much.

One of the things I've learned… over time… is that I can't do it all at once. I've tried more times than I care to admit. This applies at the paycheck job too. What happens is that I get less done than I should have.

I can't get away with this at the paycheck job, and sometimes I have to move multiple projects at the same time. I'm the boss at Entertaining Stories though, and will have things my way here.

Dealing with multiple projects takes a certain amount of whining and hand wringing. (At least in my case. Ask my wife if you don't believe me.) Surprise, whining and hand wringing takes time away from things I should be doing.

I use task lists when it gets out of control. If I can keep it straight in my head, I don't bother to write it all down. Then I pick a project, put on the blinders and work on it until I'm finished.

There is a lot to be said for finishing something. It might be as simple as updating my pinned tweet, but the act of completion is like a Scooby Snack for me. I'm energized to take on the next thing.

I used my deplorable art skills to make an image for my pinned tweet and updated it. Some of you have already shared it. Hopefully, the art is good enough for the split second it takes to get the point across.

I worked on all four radio interviews, and got them back to the guest authors. There is more work to do, but I can do nothing until they trickle back in.

I started my beta reading project yesterday, and moved it ahead today. I have a document started with notes, and hopefully can help this book in some small way.

Another piece of Lisa art arrived last night, and I sent out the instructions for the next one. When it comes to blog art, I try to buy them four at a time. I can use another portrait too, and have a couple of ideas for the third one, it involves either a hairdo from the early 70s or one from 1900. Lisa likes to change things up. It's still planning and time.

I'm also collecting ideas for promotion of my next books. There are some Yak Guy things Lisa can do, and some baseball things for the other project.

I did not address my critiques, but they aren't as time sensitive. I also didn't draft anything beyond this blog. I might dabble with my outlines for an hour or two.

The point is that I have to put on my blinders and work exclusively on one thing at a time. I get more done that way. Right now the focus is on reading, but if I can complete something small (like Twitter) before or after reading, I can still accomplish things.

In the end, clearing my slate will give me more time for drafting new material as I move into February.

Right now, I picked up a giant bottle of beer, and a new tea I want to try. There is football to watch, and maybe game one will be tea, and game two will be beer.

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Sunday, hope I covered everything

I'm having some connectivity issues here today. Everything else seems to be hunky-dory, but my iPad is acting up. I hope this doesn't mean bad things for my precious baby.

I have a post scheduled every day through friday now, with the exception of wednesday. If nothing else, this will give me one day to make some kind of adjustment. I might have an announcement to make, but that involves a team effort, and I need to hang tight. I can always post a picture or two from my field trip for work.

My friends and I, over at Story Empire, have a month long scavenger hunt going on. There are five separate scavenger hunts to check out at our Paranormal Bar & Grille page. We're taking our books on a huge tour, and there is a grand prize to be found there too. You have to play to win, and you could win as many as five of the regular prizes. We weren't exactly ready to pull back the veil, but I already have one entrant so the time is now. Go down to the bottom, and the highlighted names will take you right to the scavenger hunts.

Story Empire is growing, but we can always use more followers. You might want to check out the blog page while you're there and see if it might be for you. Right now, the content is directed more toward authors and contains tips and advice that's pretty helpful. It may evolve over time, most blogs do.

In other news, I bought the new iPhone. My old one was one of the 16GB models and it was full. No more music, inability to get my documents off the cloud, etc. Other than that, it was wonderful. I would have kept it, but I just needed more room.

Well, a new phone needs a new cover. This model is so new, there aren't many to choose from. I usually choose something macabre and creepy. My old phone had a full moon with bats flying across it. This time, I decided to have Zazzle make me a custom one. What do you think?

I really want to get a box of coffee mugs with something similar. They aren't cheap though. That way, I can include a mug when I have another scavenger hunt, or get involved in something with prizes. Would that kind of prize interest any of you? I would include some kind of promotional link on it too.

One of the other things I'd like to do is get some stickers made. I have a lot of Lisa Burton art right now, and could hand out stickers to various people. This wouldn't be guerrilla sticking, but to those who want something like that. Even sticking one on the back of my iPad could get someone to ask a question.

Back to the grind tomorrow, and on the airplane Tuesday well before sunrise.

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Today wound up being a push

Push is an old Nevada term for a blackjack hand where the player ties the dealer. No winner, but no loser either. I thought a bit of explanation might help with readers who aren't familiar with it.

My parents are on a road trip, so I couldn't call them this morning. They promised to call me when they got home, but haven't yet. I'm not surprised, because it's a long drive.

I failed to go through my critiques today. There isn't much to address, and I should have done it. I just failed.

I did add about a page to a short story I've been picking away at. That's my victory for the day. It isn't much, but I'll take it.

I also added to my list of short stories for a future project I'm calling The Enhanced League. It's in my head now, and I need to keep jotting tidbits down. Actually the longer I take, and the more bits and pieces I have, the better this will turn out. I need to do a bunch of research for this one too, and make research notes.

I spent a bunch of time playing with Otto today. He's so much fun that I don't look at him as a distraction. I'm entitled to have a bit of fun now and then. I loaded a video to my Facebook Page of him with his new outside water dish. He thinks it's a wading pool and that we bought him the wrong size. Those of you who are enjoying Otto can see it over there.

This puppy has more than doubled his size in two weeks. Can you imagine what that would be like? It's no wonder he takes huge naps and eats like a horse.

For Summer, my stats are decent this week. Lisa Burton Radio remains popular, and I keep picking up a guest here and there. I'm gaining about a follower per day and this makes me pretty happy.

My post/story about Lisa's gardening adventures became the most popular one for June. June isn't over, but I'm thrilled for the comments and social media shares. It's nearly double the views of the next most popular post.

I occurs to me that if I'm putting out a second Experimental Notebook in September, I need to start getting organized. I have enough stories, but don't know if I have the word count. This means I need to read through the stories and do some editing. I need to assemble it all, check the word count, and write my intermission. The intermission was pretty popular in the last one, so I'm doing it again.

I have a large list of short fiction and would like to add one more. It's about a wildlife film maker who gets in over his head. I think I can do it justice and it would be nice in this Notebook.

Then I need to get a cover ordered, and a couple of Lisa posters for promotional purposes. I have some good ideas and am kind of excited to get it all ordered. The radio show image started as an idea for this book of short stories. Then it kind of evolved and I decided to make it something more.

Right now, paying for this is kind of an issue. We have to call the washing machine repairman and wait for that bill to arrive.

I think I'll call the blog updates a victory too. There are a certain number of words involved, so I'm counting them.

In the fail column, I didn't get to start the next book I want to read. My work is sending me on an overnight trip, and I may get to read in my hotel at night.

Victory or loss, does it really matter? I moved some things ahead, and failed moving other things ahead. I had a great time with Otto, and that has value to me.

I need to start making a promotional plan for September and October too. I've dropped a few hints to a friend, but nothing much beyond that. I want to possibly push my new Notebook and The Playground at the same time. First I need to have a new Notebook.

I'd probably be well advised to wash up a fountain pen and make a couple of lists. One for the new book and one for promotional purposes.

I'm still here, and I have vacation time Thursday or Friday. It feels like a chance to work on some bigger projects, but it's summer too. We'll see how it all goes.

No promises on a post tomorrow night. I always try to post something on Mondays, but I'll be on the road with colleagues overnight. Bonus though, we might get to visit an insane asylum from the 1800s on our personal hours. It evolved into a brothel and is now a restaurant/bar. I know the owner, and might get a behind the scenes tour.

If you miss me that bad, you can always check out one of my books.

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Cursed!

I must be cursed. I never got to do any writing last weekend, and the near future isn't looking any better.

Today, I had a recurring appointment to get my blood pressure medication refilled. I knew this was coming for a long time, and should have allowed me some quality time this afternoon. Then my eye doctor called and my glasses were in.

The appointments weren't exactly back to back, so I decided to surrender and got a haircut while I was out. The day was shot, so I tried to make the best of it.

The best I could manage was to rough-out the shtick for a future Lisa Burton Radio interview. I got it sent out, and it's going to be a fun one. Then again, I think they're all fun.

This weekend, I've been invited to a family event at a State Park. This will kill Saturday.

I took two days off next week, and they are already booking up with errands. Does anyone know any rituals to recover lost writing time?

I've slacked off on personal promotion too. This is by design, because I've never been able to accomplish much during the summer. Maybe it's the kind of books I write. Books about girls at the beach might be more popular this time of year. God bless them, and I hope they sell a ton. I'd like some consideration when the kids go back to school though.

I'm already pondering some plans for a September/October push. This is how my mind works. I'll probably do multiple things at once to spur things along.

On the plus side, I'm pretty happy with my new glasses. Otto is growing and getting a lot more active. His favorite game is still put things in his mouth and bite them. At least he's moved beyond my toes.

They say Bulldogs don't do well with temperature extremes. Otto loves being outside, even though it's over a hundred degrees today. He's learned how to cool off, and likes to sleep on the air conditioner vent. I've never had a dog who wanted anything to do with the vents, so this is kind of unusual.

This evening, I am going to try to read, but I expect occasional trips outside, broken up by visits to the vent.

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Getting ready to go on tour

I did a bit of weeding, and some fence repair today. After I lugged the garbage to the curb, I headed for the writing cabin.

Lisa* had the front office piled with bags, and cardboard tubes.

“What's with all the stuff?” I asked.

“It's about time to go on another book tour. I need my clothes, and makeup. These tubes are all the posters for your hosts. I added a few more book covers, just in case.”

“Great idea. How do you decide which posters to give to someone?”

“They usually decide themselves. They can have one of each, if they like. They both turned out good.”

“I thought you didn't like the one with the dog.”

“It was all a mistake. I expected something else, and when it happened it was a surprise. My circuits like planned out results. Over time it grew on me, and it was kind of funny. I could never stay mad at a dog. He's kind of goofy, but that's just the way he is.”

“So do you still like the other one?”

“The Blunderbuss one? Yeah. It's an important piece from the book, and I like the pile of books I had to stand on. Besides, I got to wear that cute outfit I picked up in Bombshell Squad.”

“I figured you'd like that. Are you going to use the old biplane again?”

“Transportation isn't a problem these days. I still have my Harley, you bought us that old Land Rover that works most of the time. Then there's the biplane, which was handy over longer distances. Still, it took a long time to get overseas. You have a lot of friends in places like Europe, Africa, and Australia.”

“So what do you have in mind? Do you want to use an airline?”

“No. Since we repaired the rocket-pack, I could take it into a shallow orbit and get overseas in record time.”

“Are you sure? It's kind of jury-rigged.”

“Believe me, I understand its circuits and can monitor it for any problems during flight. If I run into an issue I'll just touch down for repairs.”

“You know Earth is mostly water, right. Robot girls don't exactly float. You might be in for a long walk home underwater.”

“I'm not worried about it. You may have to pick up the tab for shipping if I find some cute clothes though.”

“What do you mean if? You've never failed to find something. Shipping isn't exactly in the budget.”

“Look, I don't eat, so it isn't like you have to pick up my meals. I'll get free shipping when I can, but you can pitch in if they charge. Either that, or you can let the dog pull off your trunks and we'll send out your posters.”

“Um, no. Nobody wants to see that. I'll pick up shipping, but try not to bankrupt me.”

“I can't, based upon my paychecks. I might get one cute pair of shoes, or something.”

“Do you need me to do anything while you're away?”

“Not if I use the rocket-pack. I can be back in time to cuddle Bunny and count out his pellets.”

“Whew, saved from cuddling with Bunny duty. Use the rocket-pack by all means.”

* Lisa Burton is my personal assistant, and the spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories. She's also a robot girl, with a couple stories of her own. She is willing to make more visits if you'd like her to come to your blog.

***

Lisa is promoting my latest book, The Playground. Look at that awesome cover and pre-order it today. Look, there's that dog again. http://a-fwd.com/asin=B01D6EF6RI

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Strange day off

I had an errand to run that ate up a chunk of my day off. It was a contentious point under my roof. It's time to drop off our taxes with the accountant. I tried to talk my wife into dropping them off after she got off work, and apparently, this was a ridiculous idea. The accountant is one block from where she works. As a result, I drove fifteen miles through traffic, spent 30 seconds dropping off the package, and another fifteen miles through traffic to get back home. I don't get it, but it ate up a chunk of my day and tainted my attitude.

I did some reading when I got back, then decided I had to do something progressive.

I uploaded a Lisa picture to Facebook to promote The Cock of the South to a couple of groups I joined. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that. I created a different one for Twitter that doesn't feature Lisa. Scratch off the fact that I accomplished something.

I spent a limited amount of time researching items for the stories currently underway. I avoided the Sirens this time. When I find time to write again, I have a better idea of what I need to include.

I decided to take a visual break and surfed for my next background. I downloaded four or five, because it's a struggle to get one to fit on the narrow edges of this blog. Images need to be free, and they need a strong vertical element to work best. Even then, I have to crop them to get the vertical element to the sides. With that many images, one should work well.

March arrives next Tuesday, and that's when my critique group meets again. I sent my submission out days ago, and could have worked on their submissions today. I just didn't. I'll probably get to it sometime this weekend. My next rotating day off is Monday, and that might be a good time.

This evening will bring more reading. If I need a break, I may work on a short story briefly. This one involves a return to Bergamot Holler, the key area in Will O' the Wisp. I have some fun ideas for it, and am excited to see where it goes.

Sales have been strange lately, and I'm getting a lot more pages read than actual sales. That doesn't bother me at all. I'm happy to have action. If you joined Amazon Prime, and want to check out my stories for free, please do. I have no idea why this happens. I haven't done much promotion lately other than Twitter, and the new Facebook stuff. I'm sure more promotion would net more results, but I can only do so much.

Right now, I'm stressed for writing time. I can post a Tweet with some decent hashtags and get it online in seconds. Writing guest posts takes a bit of time, and blog tours require monitoring. I'll be doing that soon enough, but it isn't in the cards right now.

It won't be long before I hear back from the beta readers. I'm anxious to see what they thought about The Playground. Working on that book will take priority at that time. Then I'll have to move toward launch, and get all the guest posts written. I already have a couple of them, but need to keep pecking away at them.

Somewhere in the middle of this, I have a fun new idea for this blog. I'm not ready to announce it just yet, but it's going to require some hours too. I'm looking forward to it though, and am chomping at the bit to get started on it. It will all happen in time, so I'm better suited to clear some other things off my plate right now.

Back to the plate clearing.

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