Tag Archives: self promotion

Busy all day

It doesn’t seem like much really, but I was busy all day today. Otto decided to wake me up around six o’clock. After feeding dogs and making coffee, I started on social media. This may seem like a waste of time, but with a new book release I wanted to stay on top of things.

About the time of my second cup, I started sending out the pre-written blog posts. This involves some extra steps with my iPad, but once you fall into the rhythm, it isn’t bad. I have to copy the Amazon universal link, then convert my post to Word. I email the Word copy from Apple Pages. This prevents me from accessing another Pages document until I either delete the email or send it. However, I’ve already copied the link, so all I had to do was paste it in the email.

I can freely go to any other app, so I then copied the book blurb from Amazon and pasted it into the email. Beyond that it was a matter of attaching a cover, and in some cases a Lisa Burton poster, and sending it into cyberspace. Social media is easy, because it’s always in my email signature. All my hosts have to do is copy and paste at their end.

The only things I failed to send were an author photo and bio. It’s probably better to have it, but it’s done now.

I got so wrapped up in this, I forgot to call my parents. Mom called me after a reasonable time. “Oh yeah, Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.” Son of the year here.

Like I said, it doesn’t seem like much, but I sent ten of these out today. Between mailings, I checked in on the post over at Charles Yallowitz’s place to respond to comments. I also shared it everywhere I could think of, and tweeted it out a couple of times.

The week ahead of me will involve sharing, responding, and participating as much as I can on the tour posts.

There have been a handful of sales, but the only promo is my post, and the one Charles put up. Can’t be disappointed at that. It’s moved into triple digits as a dystopian novel. My hope is to move into double digits on one of the lists, but the next ten days will tell that tale.

My plea today is for early sales. If you’re interested in this one, a sale now has more benefit to me than one in December. They’re all special, but that’s a fact of a new release. You can read it in December, and that won’t matter. A rapid cluster of sales will help me get onto a list, which could cause Amazon to help spread the word.

Enough about that for now. Tonight, I’m going to watch a baseball game and drink a beer. (And probably surf through Charles’ post a couple more times between innings.)

Back to the office tomorrow to start dealing with the fallout of the two crazy weeks previous. Hope all of you had a good weekend, and a Happy Mother’s Day where appropriate.

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Time for a new plan

My goal this weekend was to work on Lisa Burton Radio interviews, and work on a few advance blog posts … at a leisurely pace.

This is the busiest couple of the weeks of the year at my office. This means we’re changing the flex schedule temporarily. Which mean I don’t get a flex day for two weeks now.

Then I got The Yak Guy Back from the formatter. I need to check it, and turn it back around. I also need four more advanced blog posts. On top of that, the posts I already have are too short. Maybe with a book blurb it will look better. Oh yeah, I have to write a book blurb.

I decided to set my alarm clock for 4:00 AM. The first mission will be to proof the copy of my book. After I get it sent back, possibly with changes, I’ll work on the advanced posts.

Maybe I’ll schedule in some def-con three grade panic around 10:00.

I actually am ahead of the game on the interviews. The only problem is in the final phase, because my guests aren’t turning them back right away. I have a couple more weeks scheduled, so I can float a bit if I have to. I’d still like to prepare a couple and send them out this weekend.

I should explain the reason for my state of mind. My experience with Summer releases is dismal. In my mind, it isn’t Summer until school lets out. Right out wrong, that’s my position. I’d liked to have gotten this done a month ago, but it was a matter of funds.

If everything happens according to my new plan, I’ll dig out my email list and send inquiries to my traditional hosts. It could work that I’ll have everything I need next weekend. These are folks who have larger followings, because the goal is to spread the word.

I usually leave an option of custom writing something for a couple of my hosts. Once in a while, they have a specific idea and I try to help them. Again, tempting fate, but I might be able to write those next weekend.

Hey, if everything works out perfectly, this could happen.

Disclaimer: I always freak out at book release time. Better have a beer tonight.

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It’s a Milestone

I was brought up to keep quiet about accomplishments. I’ve done that all my life, but it’s kind of counter-productive to all the promotion that comes with being an author.

We all work hard, and it seems like progress is slow. It is there, and it’s harder to observe, but it happens. I’ll walk you into my announcement.

Today was largely dedicated to Lisa Burton Radio. In fact, I accomplished nothing else. I assembled and scheduled two interviews. At one per week, I’m keeping ahead of the game. This is because I know what it feels like to fall behind.

I also sent another shtick out, with one more to go out tomorrow. This is the mid-point of the process. This is how I keep the line moving.

Somewhere along the way I spotted a number in my editor. Remember, this is WordPress we’re talking about here, so there is a bit of uncertainty. The number was 100. From what I can tell, there have been one-hundred episodes of Lisa Burton Radio.

I know it’s possible the number refers to one of the episodes I have scheduled, but that poses the question: When is it appropriate to celebrate?

I choose now.

Lisa Burton

I’ve worked hard to make these interviews into a going concern. The kind of place someone might seek out when promoting their fiction. I kind of feel like I’ve accomplished that.

This isn’t discounting the partnership with all of you. You folks have been wonderful to participate, to use the sharing buttons, and to actually buy the books being showcased. Thank you for all of that, and Lisa thanks you too.

I’ve gotten to work with some amazing authors, and I’ve learned a lot from you.

Thanks also to Sean Harrington, who revamped this image for me on very short notice. He’s been a godsend to me, and I look forward to many more years of working with him.

I’m not going to slack off, but for one night, maybe it’s time to have a glass of whiskey and take some small pleasure in one of the little things. Here’s to the next 100.

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Filed under Blogging, Lisa Burton Radio, Writing

Whew!

Hey there. Remember me? It’s been a while since I wrote something specifically for the blog. I’ve wanted to, but the blog tour demanded my attention.

The tour is over now. This one involved a pile of pre-written posts, plus a few custom requests from various bloggers. Overall, the tour was a success. We moved multiple copies every day, and it’s still selling. My experience lately is a book will flatline shortly after a book tour ends. This poses the question of what to do next. No, seriously, what should I do next?

So much of the stuff from even eighteen months ago doesn’t seem to work any longer. Facebook ads are getting horrible performance now according to some of my friends. The Amazon ads were never really much good. I tried a few email lists a couple of books ago. They cost money, but delivered nothing.

It’s a shame really, because The Hat is a fun story. More people would enjoy it, if I could only find a decent (and cost effective) way to reach them. I can give it a rest, then try the Amazon free days. I never understood why people would grab a free book when it only actually costs 99ยข, but they do.

Going back to December, many of my friends released books, and I hosted as many of them as I could. They’re all good authors too, so there were some worthy books promoted here. One saw the end of an epic series, one is the beginning of a new series. There were many others between these bookends.

These same friends were there for me too, and I appreciate everyone who donated their space for my tour.

If you’re a new author, there are some observations you could make here. These are good things to know. First, I have friends. You’re going to need friends too if you want to spread the word about your books. Keep in mind that I was there for them, even though I had my own blog tour going on at the same time. They were here for me under the same circumstances. This isn’t exactly easy, particularly when you hold a full-time job. It’s what friends do for each other though.

Everyone participated in their comments too. It’s hard enough to get someone to look your way. It’s always good to acknowledge those who have something to say.

If you were really paying attention, you came across some great people too. Making friends with my hosts is a good idea. One day you might find them willing to host your book release too. Now this is different than keeping a list of contact information and only contacting them when you need something. I’m talking about conversing with these people. Participating in their blog comments from time to time. Maybe tweet out something you find interesting. You know, friends.

I run Lisa Burton Radio on a different basis. I pretty much take all comers there. Many of those people I’ve never met before. I have made some good friends via that process too. Some of my blog hosts offer something similar. There is a trick to these opportunities too. Many regular promotional slots have dried up. It isn’t because the author/blogger got bored, it’s from lack of participation.

As authors, we don’t want those slots to dry up. We may not have a book release every month, but if the slot goes away it’s gone when we need it. My advise here is to follow those blogs who offer something like this, and share those posts on social media too. The goal is a two-stage one. First, the slot stays available and will be there when you need it. Second, if the slot grows over time it will be a better slot when you need it.

The slots I took advantage of were at PH Solomon’s, Sue Vincent’s, Colleen Chesebro’s, and Chris Graham’s places. Visit these people and make friends with them. Help keep their slots alive and growing.

I’ve been pretty successful with Lisa Burton Radio, but there are weeks when I don’t have a show. It’s rare these days, but it still happens. I want to keep this slot available for you guys. I’ll admit that I’m projecting my thought process onto the other regular slots, but if I stopped getting applicants, the show would end. That would be one less place to promote your new books. (Or your old books too for that matter.)

I guess what I’m trying to say is to work on your platform, even if you don’t have a new book to promote. Make some connections and participate in some promos for other people. Maybe some of them will be there for you when you need them.

Thank you to everyone who bought a copy of The Hat. If you enjoyed the story tell someone. The reviews are looking wonderful, and are always appreciated. Your effort might be as simple as telling your co-worker about the story. I’ll try to do the same thing for you.

Lisa Burton

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Taskmaster

I don't have to return to the paycheck job until July 3rd. I've been trying to get this week off since April, but things have been too busy at work. It isn't perfect right now either, but I need my time off.

I got enough response to my request for guest authors to carry Lisa Burton Radio into October without missing a week. This means working on those posts will be part of what I have to do.

I need to work through two critiques this weekend, and have them ready for our meeting on Tuesday.

I could have gotten my first book out by now if I'd have gotten the time off, but I didn't and it's time to do something about it. Those of you who know me will recall that I like to make a list.

Projects for my week off:

  • Re-read The Enhanced League and make edits.
  • Figure out how to add images to the back of the book and actually make them look good.
  • Get the final MS out to the formatter, and pay her.
  • Assemble a guest post I agreed to host.
  • Work on Lisa Burton Radio stuff as it comes in.
  • Finish up a post I've been working on to appear elsewhere.
  • Start the word searches on Yak Guy.
  • Read Yak Guy and start editing.
  • Write blog tour posts for Enhanced League.

Depending on how well I do, I can get to some of these:

 

  • Research and assemble something I'd like to post for July 4th.
  • Publish The Enhanced League.
  • Put out a request for blog tour hosts.
  • Do some deeper research and start writing my time travel short story for an anthology.
Nine days, Thirteen items on my list. Some of those are pretty variable, like the Lisa interviews. Might get one to work on, or a dozen.

On top of that, I intend to hang out with Otto, drink some beer, watch a few baseball games, and I might even play a video game. It's a vacation after all.

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Ready for the work week

My last day at the office was Wednesday. I have to go back tomorrow. Admittedly, I took this time off to pay my debt as an author. This might come as a surprise to many of you readers, but it will make sense to the authors out there. I'll try to give the rest of you a glimpse into the secret club today.

I need proofreaders, critique groups, beta readers, blog hosts, and reviews to make my books a success. There isn't a kind of shop where you can go get all of that. Being self published is often a matter of supporting your hobby without going too far into the hole. The big dream is to turn a profit someday.

The truth is you can pay for many of those services, but it gets kind of expensive after a while. This is why we all tend to help each other. At a bare minimum, we are a fresh set of eyes who can spot the difference between hear and here in a manuscript. It's hard to spot these kind of things in your own work. There are also times when we know exactly what we're describing, but readers aren't getting that vision. Different eyes will raise a red flag at these points.

I take advantage of this kind of help, so it's important to provide it in turn. We don't typically share project for project. It's more like a pool of authors who will do what they can – when they can. I rarely get the same people from project to project, but in the long run – they are the same group.

Most of my time off was spent paying my authorly debts. The rest was spent on other duties, just like at the workplace. I'm proud to say I finished my last authorly project at about 1:30 today. Then I hauled off all the fruit tree branches, and declared myself done.

I feel a bit like that guy at the top of the post, but I also feel pretty darned good about it. I got to read some awesome stories, some for a review, some as a beta reader.

The good news is that my metaphorical office is clear. On my next day off I can return to my own novel. I'm kind of excited about it to tell you the truth.

I'll spend the rest of the evening catching up with most of the blogs I neglected to read. After that, it's off to bed early enough to go to my workplace all fresh and ready for work.

One of these days I'll have to take some time off for the sake of time off. It could happen, someday.

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Ah, Spring…

Ah Spring, the grass is green and we've even cut it once. The birds are singing, my fruit trees are all in bloom with honeybees visiting the blossoms. And the, what the f—?

Must be Idaho. Nice time to burn some vacation leave and enjoy Spring.

Seriously, I took some time off to work on projects. I've been fairly productive so far. I finished reading a book and posted a review. I worked on three different shticks for Lisa Burton Radio and sent all those out. I even managed to start my beta reading project. I seriously believe that if you want the benefit of beta readers, you have to provide the benefit of beta reading to others.

I'm feeling pretty comfortable with my reading at this point, but I also promised another friend an ARC read. I don't have to return to work until Tuesday, so I could get more done than I originally hoped.

Between these projects, I pecked away at my own post for the Rave Reviews Book Club party, and managed to get it scheduled too. I also got my next Story Empire post scheduled. That should buy me a bit of time.

If I get back to my own writing, The Yak Guy Project will be front and center. I want to finish that manuscript so I can park it for a few weeks. During that time, I can do my edits of The Enhanced League. Doubt the raven is waiting to tear my soul apart over that book, and he's been patient this time.

Enhanced League has a cover, and I'm waiting to finish the promotional art so I can take it on tour. That's at least a month down the road, but I'm planning ahead. I need to get it to beta readers before I can tour it around. Beta readers need time to deliver their mark-ups, and you can't rush this part.

After all that, I'll think about a cover for Yak Guy and start the process all over again.

I've been adding the occasional note to my storyboards for two novellas and my next novel. These are mostly organized chaos right now. Plenty of time to polish them up after my books are published.

I may just turn a corner and blog ahead this weekend. I'd like to have a couple of things ready for Chris Graham, I can hold them in case I get one of the books published. When the time gets closer, I can either say something about the new book, or send one of the prewritten pieces. I also have several new ideas for Story Empire that I may rough out.

Tonight, I'm kind of pooped out. If I do anything else, I'll go back to beta reading. That's highest in priority right now.

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