Tag Archives: re-blog

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 99¢ 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?

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I believe in original content

I've been re-blogging a lot lately, and that is going to continue for a while. Will O' the Wisp is still on its blog tour, plus a few folks surprised me with nice posts about my Experimental Notebook.

It's the least I can do to support those who supported me. Besides, maybe one of you will discover a cool new blog to follow.

Still, you keep coming here for original content. This is mostly an update post. I had to pay attention to real world issues this weekend. I managed to cover all the bills while changing a handful of light bulbs and smoke detector batteries. Glamorous stuff to be sure. I also had to replace batteries in my Mac trackpad.

As far as the promotions go, Notebook is doing well. I'm hoping Wisp will make some strides as the tour continues and Halloween approaches.

I have to say, my regulars have been incredible. Some of you have stopped by everywhere, and left comments. I thrive on comments. Many of you shared these posts on various social media too. What did I do to deserve such good friends? With my regulars supporting me, it almost looks like we could spike a blogger's stats for a day. I must remember to be as supportive as my regulars are.

I've been invited to be a guest on something called blog talk radio in November. I really have no idea what it involves, but it looks like we'll be chatting about Will O' the Wisp. I'm excited and terrified all at once. I'm not worried about talking, it's the software that has me concerned.

I managed to touch base with the publicist via email. She has some neat ideas, and I do too. Sounds like we may go to lunch in November. I haven't spent any money yet, but it could happen.

I've also been watching a lot of baseball. It's mostly been the American League on television, but it's better than no baseball at all. It was fun watching R. A. Dickey throw his knuckleball today.

I've always been a National League kind of guy, but I really don't have a team in the playoffs. I used to like everyone in the NL West, but I can't stomach the Dodgers these days. They became a bunch of jerks several years ago. Their Diamondbacks pool party sealed the deal for me, and a shit play against the Mets this week made it permanent. I've fallen into that old pattern of whoever is playing the Dodgers is my favorite team.

I've been toying with the idea of a writing tip sort of post. There are other writers out there who probably have more street credit, but I may write it anyway. If I do it, I'll probably post it Wednesday.

Have a good evening everyone, and go anyone who faces the Dodgers.

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Wednesday Ramblings

Wild Concept is making a few sales. It’s still single digits, but I’m ecstatic. I know what the odds are for a first time author, and what kind of sales self publishing brings for newbies. It’s only been about three weeks.

I checked the international Amazon stores, and I’ve sold a few in Amazon.de and Amazon.ca . Thanks to the international readers out there who gave me a chance.

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I’ve gotten a few more re-blogs and Twitter posts. Thanks to everyone who did that. This includes Laurie Buchanan and Ravenlywrites . Thank’s you guys, I’ll take all the help I can get. (and need it)

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From the number of click throughs on my blog stats, I probably need to tighten up my book blurb. I was in a hurry to get the book uploaded, and should check it out. It’s an important sales tool, and I can probably do better.

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Loralei, my Muse, has been commuting with me again. Last night she talked me into using my fountain pen and notebook to make some character sheets. I’m knee deep in Will ‘O the Wisp, and she’s already onto the next project.

I have a cluster of characters and she wants me to use them all in the next story. I just don’t know if they all fit. If I can come up with a good McGuffin, they might.

I also came up with a seriously bad dude. My bad guys are usually more environmental, or corporate. This guy has potential, and he might even be redeemable. I just have to spend some more time with him. Maybe I’ll have him come to the writing cabin for a day.

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Will ‘O the Wisp is at a logjam for me. My main character, Patty has reached a plateau where she has to go on the attack. This involves a lot of research for me, but I always liked the research. Then I have to weave it all into the mind of a fifteen year old before putting it on the page.

This path also has to fail for her. (Sorry Patty) This will set up the last ditch effort at the end.

This is where I could really use Loralei. The problem with a Muse is that she’s happy if I’m creating. She doesn’t care about quality, just getting something new on paper. I might be on my own to figure this part out.

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Hey, I said it was a rambling post. “Lisa*, where’s that soapbox?”

“Right here, boss,” she said, putting the box on the lobby floor and I climbed on top.

Now that award season is over in Hollywood, I’m going to bring this up. Why does Hollywood have a problem with aging gracefully? So many of the entertainers don’t look like they’ve had plastic surgery – they look like they’ve been to a taxidermist.

I know Hollywood loves the young and the pretty, but give me a break. There is nothing young or pretty about someone who looks like their head was carved from a bar of soap. I think this is a horrible example for the youth of the world too.

I would watch a good performer, no matter what they looked like. I’m sure there would be a winnowing process if all they were good for was visual. On the other hand, I would watch someone like Helen Mirren in almost anything she does.

“Thanks, Lisa. You can put the soapbox back in the basement.”

* Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She works at the writing cabin, and is a robot.

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Blogging, writing, and rambling

This is going to be one of those rambling posts. I learned about a writing exercise called “free writing”. This is where you just write, without any outline, specific plot, or preconceived outcome.

Apparently, I’ve been doing it with my blog. Whenever I write about my Muse, or my characters, I’ve been free writing. This isn’t to say that I don’t check my spelling or give it a quick proofread. I want everyone to enjoy it. I’m just not doing a deep edit and spending hours making it just so. I even found an ly adverb in an old post.

This isn’t the same effort I put into my fiction. I’ve been working over some of those stories for years. I learn something new, then give an old story another read. They ought to be pretty decent when I finally get them online.

I’m reading an older book that was quite popular. (No names) The author made a lot of mistakes. It gets hard to tell who’s speaking in several places, and I’m having a hard time visualizing what he wants me to see. The formatting is awful. I won’t blame him, since he died before ebooks existed. There are places where two or three words don’t have spaces between them. Words like ‘in’ became ‘m’, and ‘f’ was translated to ‘t”.

I pray for the skill to format my manuscript such that I don’t irritate readers. I also want to make sure readers can see what I need them to, without being annoyingly descriptive. (Look an ly descriptor)

I was told (ordered) to read Stephen King’s On Writing. I was really struck when he said writers need a special place, a far seeing place to just ruminate and receive new ideas. I’ve been telling you about my imaginary writing cabin in some of my old posts. I guess I’m getting some of it right.

No one wagered a guess at last month’s background image. It was a group of trees covered in mistletoe. I changed my background to one of ice for January. No need to guess, in my mind January means ice.

I am starting to see a lot of re-blogs in my Reader. There are a couple people that re-blog a dozen or more posts per day. This probably goes back to my fear of blowing up your timelines. I promise not to re-blog something unless I think it’s particularly interesting. One of them re-blogs exclusively, there is never any original content. I promise to provide original content. I figure you can surf around for interesting stuff as well as I can.

I had a secret dream to get 100 followers by 2014. I wound up with 92. Since I’ve only been blogging since September, I’m actually very happy with this number. Hello and welcome to the visitors I had from Germany and St. Vincent. I’m embarrased to say I had to Google St. Vincent. It looks like a cool place. I love seeing my map expand showing the international visitors.

I have plenty of work to do in 2014. I need to make changes based upon my critique group, then take up the more serious tasks I got from the editor. I want to read more, which is easy enough. I also want to keep working on my new story. My word count is in the toilet now, but I’ll get back on track. I also need to take the editing lessons and apply them to my old work. Somehow, I’m going to get them up on Amazon this year. Then there’s the need of my real job, you know, the one with a paycheck.

I don’t do New Years resolutions. I can attempt a change any time I want. I like to have a kind of task list though. I suppose this post was a step in that direction. Happy New Year.

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