Tag Archives: self publishing

Action in the back catalog

I’ve been doing a lot of promotion lately. Considering I released two books in three months, it’s kind of understandable. Things are going well and both books are selling.

To be honest, promo wears me out. I’d rather talk about you guys than myself, but books die on the vine without this kind of thing.

This time out, I’m still going slow. John Howell hosted me today. If you missed the reblog, this is the link. I’m custom writing all the pieces once again. I have one post I need to write this weekend, and another I need to get close on. There are other folks I intend to ask this time out. Don’t want to wear out my welcome at any of the sites.

There is something interesting going on right now. I’m seeing action in my backlist. This is where authors used to make their living decades ago. That model kind of died off, but with ebooks it still has some validity.

Some of this is caused by Viral Blues. That’s the one that included a sequence of my previous characters in a story with Lizzie and The Hat. It’s possible that folks liked VB, and are interested in reading more about some of the characters that appeared in it. I hope so anyway.

Victoria Zigler published a nice post today that included a couple of my older titles. She’s an author herself and a big time supporter of independent authors. Here is the link to her post. I’d appreciate it if you’d run over there and leave her a comment. Check out her site while you’re there and browse her books, too.

I have a lot to think about with some of this. It’s a lot of promo since September, but there are some interesting results. It may be time to move the chain a bit.

When I’m hosted somewhere, I always try to reblog the post. This isn’t to shove it down your throat, I’m trying to drive traffic to those bloggers who were there for me. The hope is they get some good numbers on the day, and maybe my introduction will lead you to another cool blog you might enjoy.

These are positive thoughts, but they could be slightly off-base. Helping others, I’m all about that. However, I am also wearing my regulars out by doing it. Let’s face it, you know I have a new book by reading about it here before I even take it on tour.

I want to balance out gratitude for the favor and keeping my own site from becoming like a broken record. I’m always willing to host something for those who’ve helped me, and that’s also being nice.

Is a post, similar to this one, that includes a few links, easier to digest over here? I could do a weekly post with tour links and a bit of salesmanship, then have a more digestible schedule here for the rest of the week? Is that a balance between polite to my hosts and still respectful of my regulars?

Where is the chain today between polite and efficient? I’d really like to hear from some of you on this.

More promo seems to be working, and it’s something I ought to keep doing. (Who knows if I will, but I can see the results in the new titles and the backlist.) Is it appropriate to keep posting things around the Internet, but not reblog every single post? Will I irritate those who went out of their way for me? I would participate in the comments, and share like crazy on social media either way.

I’d like to see those older titles keep moving. I could run out a post about Yak Guy, or Panama on a monthly basis. Maybe step up Lanternfish when the second book in the series is near publication. Maybe I could prepare a backlist post and have someone host it where several older titles are included.

This is stuff all authors struggle with. Do you have any secrets here? Do you have an opinion about this stuff. I have followers that come here for more than sales-pitch. They like my bulldogs, my sourdough bread, and my backyard fruit trees. Some of you would rather visit the Idea Mill, than read another post about one of my books.

This has rambled on for long enough. I think you understand where I’m coming from. What suggestions do you guys have? What is appropriate these days? Talk to me. Chew me out. Tell me how to make polite changes. Tell me if you think I should not change anything.

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The fetal position

This weekend was one of those that makes me curl up and chew my nails. My original intention was to publish Serang, then start thinking of tour posts to let the world know about it.

Yesterday was a chore day. This involved two appointments at nearly the same time. Old What’s Her Face had an appointment to get her brakes worked on. This meant I had to put Otto and Frankie in my truck, pick her up at the dealership, then take Otto for his vaccinations.

After that, she needed to stop by the pet store, and that led to Otto wanting to meet everyone in town. Things take longer when he’s around. It’s like hanging out with a rock star… “Just one more picture.”

Another leg of the plan was to come home, load up some garbage the sanitation guys won’t pick up, then visit the dump on the way to get the other car. Didn’t work out.

We managed date night at a new restaurant, and while it was decent, it didn’t blow me away for the expense.

Today, our grandson came over and bagged leaves. This was all prearranged because he wanted to make some money. It’s actually kind of nice, because I didn’t have to do it, and he was excited about it.

I ran Serang through the Amazon Mill, and am waiting now. Again, I’m biting my lip to see what happens. I had slow Internet this morning, and the previewer was sketchy at best. I decided, since it does not have the fun graphics, like the hat stories, the formatting was probably great.

It also never flagged any spelling errors, and it should have. This is a fantasy, and even words like “Serang” ought to draw attention. Locations like Di Guo Quishi should have also been questioned. (WordPress just questioned it.)

I’m going on blind faith with Serang. Hope it really does look great, and that it is spelling error free. I might have to buy my own copy to find out how the formatting came across.

Right now, Old What’s Her Face is having a Hallmark Christmas. You know the ones where the blossoming business woman dumps her boyfriend who is an up-and-comer and has a future, because she went to a small town and met a guy in flannel who owns his own apple press.

Mr. Rock-Star is snoring on the floor beside my feet.

I expect to hear from Amazon tomorrow, and we have to make that trip to the dump. The truck is all loaded in the garage, and they aren’t open today. Tomorrow is my flex day, so email will tell me what to work on before my wife gets home. It could be tour posts, or it could be new words on my side project, Grinders.

After all that, I consider it a good weekend. We got a lot done, and I got to do some of my projects among the mix. Hope all of you had a great weekend, too.

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Peeking out

I’ve been admittedly quiet around here lately. This is because I’ve been appearing everywhere else. My local efforts haven’t been that interesting, so I’ll just brief on them.

I try to have a couple of posts per week out there, then spend my time supporting those. If you’ve hosted me, you may have seen all the Twitter action and such.

Every weekend, I try to contact a host or two, then write something specifically for them. This tour has been 100% unique material, even though the cover and blurb are the same.

There has also been a surge of interest in Lisa Burton Radio. This takes quite a bit of work, but I like to be there for my fellow authors. I’m not one of those who takes but never gives in that regard.

It honestly doesn’t sound like much, but it’s kept me hopping. I’m enjoying the baseball playoffs to no end this year, but many of those games find me with my iPad across my lap and trying to polish up a post during the game.

Some of you might wonder why you haven’t heard from me for this tour. I will send something if you like, but I have another book coming right on the heels of Viral Blues. I don’t want to wear my usual hosts out, but I’ll need places to promote that book, too.

Part of this weekend is dedicated to whipping Serang into final shape. Most of it involves adding a title and copyright page, a bit of back material, and a fast sweep of the tale itself. If I get everything done, that will make three publications for me this year. I think anyone would admit that’s a pretty busy 2019.

For now, it’s Viral Blues until the end of the month. It has a Halloween theme, and you can read it in a long day. I think it’s funny, and maybe you’d enjoy some seasonal reading.

With this schedule, something had to give. I’m sad to note there is no Macabre Macaroni this year. I never had to time to write some seasonal micro-fiction. Nobody appears to have noticed, but I hope you’re all having a fun Halloween season anyway. Here’s an old MM image of Lisa to hold you over.

Lisa Burton

Old What’s Her Face has a Pirates film festival on today. I adore these movies, and find the music inspirational. They also serve to remind me that I haven’t touched Lanternfish II in over a month. In a perfect world, I would finish this manuscript by the end of the month.

It’s about time for me to knock off, eat some Asian pears, drink a pumpkin beer and find some baseball. (So many Asian pears this year, and they’ve been better than any previous year.)

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Nothing quite like the terror of hitting the publish button

I got to the writing cabin early this morning. So early, Lisa was still recharging her batteries.

I wasted no time heading for my office, but Lisa intercepted me at my computer, at least her voice did.

“I need another hour of juice.” Her voice came from the speakers. “I’ve never seen you so early before. I sent a command to the coffee pot to start brewing, but you’ll have to give it twelve minutes and eighteen seconds to brew.”

Doubt, the raven, watched me with his malignant gaze. He spread his ebony wings and glided over to the desk.

I loaded my manuscript, chose some keywords, added a cover.

“Blork, pik, pik.”

I think that means how much I suck, but could not be dissuaded.

I winged it when it came to the blurb. I always do this, and really should spend a month getting it just right. For some reason, it always feels more genuine to write it on the fly.

“Ha, ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha.”

“Shut up, you stupid bird. Don’t you need to go outside and cruise for roadkill?”

Doubt paced back and forth on my desk. He swept his head from side to side, as if to say, “No, no, no.”

It didn’t matter. I uploaded the damned book. Then the waiting began. Amazon can take up to three days to approve a new book. I checked email. Nothing.

The beeper on the coffee pot went off, so I helped myself. Then checked email.

A couple of webcomics published new pages, so I read those. Then checked email.

Lisa Burton Radio. Checked email.

A new critique submission ate up a couple of hours. Checked email between each chapter.

Chatted with Story Empire compatriots. Checked email.

Lisa showed up. She looked fabulous in her oversized New Year’s sweatshirt and black tights. “Whatcha doin’?”

“Just checking email.”

“There’s an Indiana Jones film festival on. Maybe you should check it out.”

“Right after I check my email.”

She grabbed me by the arm, then walked me to the couch. She’s connected to the entire house, and the television came on without a glance. “… Goose-stepping morons like yourselves should try reading books, instead of burning them…”

“I’d better check my email.”

“Relax. It will all happen in time.” She went to tend her pet rabbit.

I pulled my hidden phone from my pocket and checked email.

It went like that pretty much all day. I exchanged a few notes about the critique, then went back to chatting with the Story Empire crowd. One of them told me they just bought my book. “ACK!!!” I still didn’t have an email.

I got the link from her, then created an Amazon global link. I did a long-planned facelift on my blog. It looks so great. Sean Harrington did an update on my banner image to keep it in theme with the new book.

Still no email from Amazon. When I dug deeper, it was in my junk folder. WHAT??? Nothing really ever goes in my junk folder, so I never thought about it, but there it was.

So (Composing myself), Lanternfish is a book. I made a new graphic for the sidebar, and you can pick up your copy by clicking on the cover. I sent out a couple of blog tour inquiries, and need to get started sending out the pre-written posts. They’re all unique, so my followers can get updated stuff at each stop. I have more people to contact, but none of this happens until Amazon sends the email.

Of course, I have to go back to work tomorrow. That puts a damper on some of this. I’m sorely tempted to take tomorrow off now. Goodreads, BookBub, and a bunch of other places need updates now.

Lanternfish is the book I wrote about all summer. It’s the one with root monsters, giant jellyfish, moving reef, and more. If pirate fantasy is your thing, I’d like to draw your attention to this one.

I have some fun posters Lisa made to help promote with, and can’t wait to share them.

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One of those days…

The internet has been pretty quiet this week. I noticed the number of posts in my reader is down, and other forms of social media are less active too. Blogging usually slows down for the summer, but Twitter seems to never end. Whatever the reason it’s observable.

I’m in kind of a blue mood. These happen every once in a while. I’d like more sales, more reviews, more of everything. This isn’t unusual, but the summer slowdown seems to be hitting Yak Guy kind of hard. I should have released it a month earlier than I did, or held it for Fall. What’s done is done now. I think it’s a good story, and hopefully folks will read it and feel the same way.

I’ve also been fighting with finances again. This seems to be a recurring battle, and I ought to be used to it now. It makes me have strange ideas about whether publishing my stories is worth it at all. The dream is just to pad my retirement a bit in about eight to ten years. I could easily write my stories and park them in a box somewhere. They make me happy, I feel creative, but it kind of kills the improvement. Readers help me whet the edges and raise my game. Publishing costs money, even if it’s just a cover, and that creates a vicious circle.

My daughter has taken a new job that will send her back to Sun Valley. She loves it over there, and it’s a supervisory position for more money. I hope she can find a place to stay, because Sun Valley isn’t like the rest of the planet. Things are expensive there.

I kind of like Jackson the cat, but he’ll be moving with her. There is one small benefit to this too.

I need to get over my crappy mood and get ready for the weekend. I have piracy to write about, and don’t want to spend the weekend pouting. I found this somewhere on the Internet and it helped a bunch.

Mayhaps I should searcheth around and see where I can buy this needlepoint when I have a few bucks. This is a powerful message, and would look great on my wall somewhere. It’s a good reminder to get over myself and get back to work. I WILL get back to work and put the evil thoughts behind me… by Friday… Saturday at the latest.

 

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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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Success!

Today is the day. I didn’t get everything I wanted finished, but the heavy lifting is done. The Yak Guy Project is live on Amazon.

I dragged my feet getting started today. It’s been a long couple of weeks at work, and that 6:30 start time was fine with me for a change. I sipped my coffee under a pile of bulldogs, and surfed through social media.

For my second cup, I worked on uploading the story. I wound up doing some spastic “swipe” maneuver and lost everything I’d done to that point. The second entry worked, then the nail biting while waiting began.

While waiting, I wrestled with three different artwork programs to make a graphic for Twitter. After I got the word from Amazon, I updated my sidebar and the cover is a purchase link. The slideshow took a bit more effort, but Yak Guy shows up in the rotation now too.

I made the first step on the only paid promotion I used last book. I’m still waiting for a PayPal invoice, but that’s in the works now.

I really like to do things in A-B-C order under my own roof. I have to operate in a more helter-skelter fashion at my workplace, but try to avoid it here, because it stresses me out. Wasn’t meant to be this time. It’s more A-B1/2-C-B2/2, but I can handle it… tomorrow that is.

I’ll either get the invoice and finish that part, or jump ahead with the first wave of blog tour stuff.

There were some small things too, like getting it set up on Goodreads, Lisa posted about it on her Facebook site. That kind of thing. Lisa and I will be making the rounds soon, and there will be some new Lisa posters on her part of the tour.

So, new book. I reckon I ought to tell you about it. This is my site, and this is where my friends are. This means no deeply thought out third person blurb, just me telling you about the story. You’ll get more tidbits during the blog tour that’s coming soon.

Let’s start with this cool cover from Sean Harrington:

The cover tells you a bunch about the setting. You have a pseudo modern outfit, but with some feudal bits like the sword. The presence of the yak indicates there is no spaceship, Jeep, or dirt bike.

Yak Guy wakes up in the desert with no idea what happened to him. All his life, he’s used others to get whatever he wants. He’s the guy who will sleep on your couch, eat your food, and drink your beer. He’ll let you do the cooking and the cleanup too, but that life just ended – forever.

He’s rescued by a talking yak, who tells him he’s gotten a second chance at life. Change is required, work must be done, survival is optional.

Those who’ve followed regularly will remember this is the one I based upon The Fool’s Journey from the Tarot. An understanding of Tarot is not required to enjoy the story. Those with deeper knowledge will probably be able to pick out some of the Tarot characters and lessons, but like I said, not a prerequisite.

Yak Guy’s world was once modern, but hundreds of years of war destroyed all of that. I worked pretty hard to weave in some bits about what was lost, but not lose the situation they have during the events of this story. Right now, the idea of horsepower comes from actual horses, and they fight with pokey things.

Early sales and reviews are so important to a book. If you’re so inclined, this is the universal link http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B07D1QY9Y7 It should take you to the correct Amazon outlet, no matter where you are in the world.

There are other things you can do too. Mark it as something you’re interested in on Goodreads. Share this post. Go to Amazon and use the sharing buttons directly from the purchase site. I already added it to one of my Pinterest boards from there. I also have that pinned tweet you can share. This post will auto-feed to the Entertaining Stories Facebook page, so you can share it there, or share the one Lisa made on her site. None of these efforts requires you to buy the book at all, but it will help spread the word.

I hope I’ve piqued your interest, and I’m excited to bring this one to you. I’m also excited to put it out there before school lets out for the summer. I’m declaring success for today, and I’ll work on more promo stuff tomorrow.

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