Tag Archives: social media

2019, I’m calling it a success

I always try to do a year end assessment this time of year, then follow it up with a business plan in the new year. This is the assessment post.

My goals for 2019 were to step back from social media a bit and to explore sequels in my stories. In this, I was successful. I used to make custom tweets and make time to share them, make the occasional post on all the other formats out there, but honestly, they accomplish nothing. I keep these formats, and this blog auto-feeds to them, but the main goal is to point people here.

Currently, social media is for my own entertainment, but I try to share favors. Meaning, if someone tweets about my books, I try to follow and share their pinned tweet. I like finding out about all the baseball trades, bulldog pictures, and simple stuff on Facebook, but that’s about all it’s good for. I joined a big group event on Facebook that was promoted like an online trade show. It was a total failure, and I won’t make that mistake again.

I stopped paying for Facebook ads and Amazon ads last year. They never really did much, and the last few times they did nothing. My promotional efforts these days are in the form of blog tours, and a promotion company. Even then, I don’t always hire the promo firm.

When I released The Hat, the promo company really paid off. I got a bunch of early reviews, and sales were great. Things really tapered off after that. I used them for Viral Blues this year, and got one review from the NetGalley portion of the bundle.

As far as exploring sequels and series work, I count it as a major success. Success means different things to different people, so some explanation is in order. I’ll include covers and links, but I’m skipping the blurbs. This isn’t about promo, but assessment.

The first thing I published was Voyage of the Lanternfish. This is a crazy pirate fantasy with magic, monsters, and gunpowder. I’ve heard the term Flintlock Fantasy thrown around, and that might be a reasonable description.

It’s important to note this is not a sequel to anything. It’s the original book in what is destined to become a series. I published it on New Year’s Day, so it counts as 2019.

This book sold fairly well, and the comments I got on it led me to the trilogy idea. Reviews are lagging, so I’m a bit concerned.

Something else came up in a lot of the discussion. Two characters clicked with people, and they came up a lot. One isn’t so much a character as a collection of root monsters. I count them as one, because they function in swarm capacity during the action scenes. In my mind, they were just a bit of silliness to fill in the corners while Lanternfish was on a long sea voyage. Kind of like how Scrat fills out the edges of the Ice Age films. However, people loved them. I even had one ask for a root monster stand-alone book.

I don’t see that happening, because some of my over-the-top characters are better in small doses. A little is wonderful, too much can lead to brain damage.

Once I decided this could fit the classic trilogy format, I panicked a little. It would take at least a year to produce the next volume, and likely more than that. How am I going to keep fans interested during that time? This is where the other standout character came into play.

Lanternfish is set in a fantasy environment, mostly because I want to avoid comparison with Pirates of the Caribbean. There are some parallels to real world places, and it isn’t hard to understand that Serang is from pseudo-China. Her character, and this part of the world, made it easy to write her story.

Serang was raised by monks, then fled the country to become a pirate – kind of. This is a stand alone title, but it supports the Lanternfish environment. My hope is that Lanternfish fans will learn more about Serang by reading her book, and that it will tide them over until HMS Lanternfish is ready in 2020.

There is also a chance that people will read Serang first, then follow her into the Lanternfish stories.

Honestly, I dropped the ball on promotion of Serang. I released her story about 60 days after Viral Blues, and did an extensive tour for it. (More on that later.) When Serang published, I worried about my regulars suffering from tour fatigue. I took her on tour, but cut it short as a business decision. I also did not use the promo company for her story.

As of this writing, she only has four reviews on Amazon. This is partially because Amazon won’t let some people post reviews. They can still post on BookBub and Goodreads, and she’s doing better there. It seems odd to me, because these people review a mountain of books. It isn’t like they’re all shills for C. S. Boyack, but there’s nothing any of us can do about it.

I think she deserves better, and all of the reviews have been glowing.

The third book was a true sequel. My first one. It’s called Viral Blues, and is the follow up story to The Hat. The Hat sold incredibly well, and is the best reviewed book I have. Because of this, I thought Viral Blues would do better than it did. I paid the promo company for this story, and pushed the hell out of it around the Halloween season. It did well, but maybe I expected too much.

Lizzie and The Hat are back, but so are a bunch of old favorite characters. I’ve gotten some nice comments about Lisa Burton returning to a story, and admit she’s kind of a scene stealer at times. I’ve also gotten some great comments on Clovis. Both of these characters came with existing fans, so it was fun putting them in a new tale. Lizzie and The Hat carry the story, but it’s kind of like a superhero team-up.

I doubt there will ever be another story like Viral Blues, but it was a blast to create it. Lizzie and The Hat will go on, but it will be in their own adventures. These stories are paranormal with a lot of dark humor and snark.

I don’t want to jump ahead to my Business Plan, but I have some fun ideas for Lizzie and The Hat.

My goals for the two series are different. When it comes to Lanternfish, a trilogy almost demands prerequisite reading to carry on with the story. Stories about The Hat, can be read as stand-alone volumes with more available if you enjoyed the one you picked.

My Story Empire friends helped me scratch out some branding ideas for the series. With Lanternfish, there is no mistaking that figurehead. If it appears on all the covers, that should be good enough. When it comes to The Hat, I commissioned a small badge I can include on all the subsequent tales. It’s Lizzie playing her upright bass. It’s just a small icon that will let readers know it’s part of the series.

When it comes to the other parts of writing, some things changed. With three publications, they almost had to. Writing all those tour posts takes time, even if they are excerpts. All of my tour posts are unique, so I don’t wear people out when I run out a new story.

***

I didn’t return to blog posts about the writing cabin until late Autumn. This was a mistake. It’s easier to blog about what I’ve been doing than it is to fictionalize the same information and converse with Lisa. However, my stats clearly demonstrate that readers prefer interaction with Lisa.

I didn’t post as many Idea Mill posts this year, and they performed well. I need to step it up on that front. All of us need ideas for our stories, and sharing the oddball things I stumble across is kind of fun.

I also skipped Macabre Macaroni this year. I was neck deep in promotion for Viral Blues during October, and didn’t have time to write scary micro-fiction for the blog. Honestly, it passed without much notice. It’s one of those things people love when it appears, but don’t seem to miss if it doesn’t. No idea what to think about this.

Lisa Burton Radio slipped a bit, too, but that was on purpose.  Here’s a bit of my thought process. Feel free to disagree with me, but I’m just being frank. As an author, I know how hard it is to find good free promotion. Even then, there is only so much you can do. Talk about your main character, maybe your antagonist, plot. Sometimes share an excerpt.

I created something unique, in that Lisa interviews the character of your choice. It’s different enough to draw attention, and they are always popular posts. I started out asking people to give me a chance. I even advertised on various sites to get guests. I wound up posting weekly without much gap for two years. We moved some books, too.

However, there is a downside. They take a lot of work to put together. This is a collaborative effort, and it eats into my time. Many times, the guest author never even shows up, or publishes one comment to the group in passing. These posts work when the author pushes the hell out of them. I have one guest who still tweets out his older post from a year ago. That’s how it’s done.

Lisa Burton Radio is still available upon request. I’m not begging for guests any more. It’s a choice slot, and you get out what you put into it. I’m using the time I gained to write my next book. If you’re interested, Lisa will be happy to talk with your character.

To close the year out, I did something I swore I’d never do again. I held some Amazon free days for one of my books. The Playground is an older title, but several characters from this book made an appearance in Viral Blues. It also has a loose Christmas theme behind it. Honestly, we moved a crap-ton of books. My stats even showed it reaching single digits on one of the categories. I could call it a best seller at 100, so at number 9 I was kind of impressed. What I’d like to see as fallout are people following Clovis and/or Gina over to Viral Blues. A few reviews would be nice, too.

It isn’t lost on me that Serang, Voyage of the Lanternfish, and The Hat could make timely free books when the sequels are ready for publication. Watching the fallout from my Playground promo closely to figure this out.

Obviously, there is more to life than my author career, but this is a writing blog. My life has health issues, pets, relationships, and a 40 hour-per-week job, too. This post is an assessment of my 2019 success and fumbles as an author. My goal has always been to entertain people for a few hours. It’s even the name of the blog. With that in mind, I think 2019 goes in the win column.

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No new words of fiction this weekend

I spent all day Saturday sending out blog tour posts. It’s part of the author gig. If we don’t spread the word, nobody will read the books. I managed to shape eight of them up to the point of being worthy.

I sent out two more today, along with an interview. I have one more interview to respond to, but that host said I could have a week if needed. It’s hard for me to admit needing it, but I do.

Honestly, I worked a full weekend, and don’t feel like I had any time off. This isn’t a good situation, but one I must endure. The funny part is most of these posts were hacked out a month ago. I had no idea who would get each post, so I had to customize all of them depending upon which host they went to.

There will be a lot of reblogging going on here during January. This is my attempt to pay back those who hosted me. I have a decent following, and if I can bring my hosts some traffic, it’s the least I can do.

Every post is unique, so it isn’t going to be like following one of those cover and blurb tours. Some of them lend themselves to some decent conversation, and I’m looking forward to the comments. I also went with more excerpts this time. Those usually spark some interest, so why not? You can find each post by checking in here, since I’ll be reblogging.

About all we did beyond that was date night. We had a gift card that provided our pizza and beer. Even it was quick so I could go back to work.

This is all part of the glamorous author life. I’m not enamored with promotion and enjoy drafting new material much more. Still, it must be done. Maybe I’ll get back to new fiction in a couple of weeks.

You can help spread the word by visiting the posts along the way. Tweeting, sharing on Facebook, and reblogging really help, and might help my hosts too. You can also express interest in Voyage of the Lanternfish over at Goodreads and BookBub if you’re on those sites.

That’s about it for me this weekend. I’m pooped, but got a lot done. I look forward to chatting with everyone along the way.

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2019 Business Plan

I skip the whole New Years resolutions thing. If you enjoy it, have at it. What I like to do is outline my plan for the upcoming year. I’ve been known to look back at it here and there to see how I’m doing.

Last year, I pledged not to take on yet another social media platform. I signed up for Book Bub anyway. I like it as a presence for my books. It doesn’t require a lot of my time, and it gives me a nice place to post reviews of the books I read. I’ve transferred over a bunch of old reviews I wrote for people who are also there. I see they’ve done the same thing for me. Technically, there isn’t really a social aspect to it, but I put it in the same category.

Google Plus announced they are going away, and they won’t really be missed. About all I did with it was autofeed my blog there. I monkeyed with it for a few months, but never enjoyed it, or found any value.

The point is that social media has only produced minimal sales for me. I never really noticed a difference in my bottom line. Some of my author friends are even quitting Facebook now. I like the occasional Far Side cartoon, or bulldog video, so I’ll keep mine. With their advertising changing so frequently, it’s become kind of worthless for book promo.

Pinterest I really enjoy. Not for promotional purposes, but for ideas. I have images to inspire characters, paranormal art, science fiction, all kinds of things. I’ll keep my presence there, but for different reasons. It’s nice to forward a few images to my artist when I want a book cover or a new Lisa Burton poster.

Last year, I decided that my best promotional tool was to write my next book. Voyage of the Lanternfish is available as of a few hours ago. This is a pirate fantasy, with all the black magic and monsters you might expect in one of my stories.

I lost my critique group in 2016, then started relying upon beta readers. I like this process, but you have to find people who are willing to kick your butt. (Behind the scenes, of course.) In 2018, I lost my beta readers. This was devastating, but the end result was good.

I’m now part of a new critique group. While there is a difference between critique and beta, they both serve somewhat the same purpose. As a bonus, I get to hang out with a very talented bunch of people who are willing to kick my butt when I need it. (Behind the scenes, of course.)

These people have all written series, and are encouraging me to do the same. My own reading preference is for stand alone books, but I admit to enjoying a series on occasion. I understand the drill, hook them with the first one, then sell them additional stories in the same environment.

I’m still up in the air about writing stories where a previous book is a prerequisite. If I can pull it off, I would like any subsequent stories to be enjoyable even if you haven’t read the previous book. Honestly, I haven’t written a book where someone didn’t mention interest in a sequel.

Having said this, 2019 is going to be my year of the sequel, and possibly the prequel. I intend to write at least one more book in the Lanternfish environment, plus a prequel for one of the supporting characters.

In addition to all that, Lizzie and The Hat are going to make a return. The Hat is my most popular title, and I have multiple ideas that would be fun to explore. One at a time though, and with some dependence on whether the next one is popular too. The next one promises to bring back a few other old friends, and I’ve already started writing it.

That’s a big list, but I may be able to release three titles in 2019. Things would have to fall into place, but it could happen.

In a perfect world, I’d be about to start that cyberpunk novel I’ve been talking about for a couple of years. This one is intended to be a stand alone title. It went on the back-burner again, because I really need to explore the advantage of sequels.

Finances are a big concern. Book covers and promotional art are one thing, but advertising is getting expensive too. I would like to hire a promo company at least during the time around the book’s release. This is a push on multiple fronts in addition to any blog tours I might set up.

My mentality is to bounce around a lot. When I read, I change genres with every title, and I like that. When I write, I do the same thing. I’m starting to realize that many people are not like me. An author sparks their imagination with either a character or world building, and they want more. I intend to deliver some of that in 2019.

I’ve bounced around with promotions in much the same way. It all becomes somewhat like Whack-A-Mole after a while. My blog will remain my main focus, it will auto feed to other sites, but if you really want me you can find me here.

It’s all kind of calming to make these decisions. My focus will be on production of good fiction. There will be blog tours to help promote, and even some new Lisa Burton posters. I’m not going to spend time making graphics for Twitter, or figuring out how often to make Facebook posts about my stories.

I hope your 2019 is productive, positive, and enjoyable. I think mine will be too.

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Exposing your work, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Hi, all, and welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. This week is a special edition, because it’s geared to all you authors out there. It might give some good ideas to bloggers who want to host guests too.

Today, I’ve collected a group of power bloggers who host authors on their sites. This gives an author a way to reach a larger audience than they might if they were simply posting about date-night or something. This means when you have a new book to promote, or maybe to give an older title a secondary push.

We’re going to start by addressing the three-hundred-pound gorilla in the room, and I mean that literally. Chris The Storyreading Ape, hosts one of the largest author blogs around. “Did you get my fruit basket, Chris?”

“Yes I did thanks, Lisa – very thoughtful of you to use edible leaves to weave the basket, so I didn’t miss out on my veggies, which help keep me at my physical peak.”

“So Chris, do you have a regular scheduled slot for authors, or do you take them piecemeal? While you’re at it, give our listeners a bit about what it takes to get into the Author’s Hall of Fame, and what benefit that brings.

“I have a prime post slot at 01:00 am, London, UK time, every day, which I use to give priority to author articles, except Mondays (reserved for my weekly Monday Funnies).

“Regards how to get articles onto my blog, see the following link for authors seeking to get into my Authors Hall of Fame: https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/contact-me/if-you-are-not-already-in-my-authors-hall-of-fame/

“For authors already in my HoF, but would like to submit further articles, or run book promos, use this link: https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/contact-me/if-you-are-already-in-my-authors-hall-of-fame/

“The main benefit is getting yourself, as a person, not just an author, in front of my blog followers, but also in front of my other media followers as well, on Twitter, two Facebook Pages, Tumblr blog, LinkedIn, etc, including a my Flipboard Authors Hall of Fame Magazine.

“Some of my other blogger/author friends often reblog author articles, which spreads your fame even further.

“The big plus is, it’s free publicity.”

“That’s a great point, Chris. These promos are all free. My own author operates on a shoestring, and I know others do too. With all the reblogs, social media sharing, and more, you could put your work in front of a hundred-thousand potential readers. Then it’s up to you to sell yourself.

“My next guest is Colleen Chesebro. She is an author and poet herself, and hosts authors on her blog. She also offers up a weekly book review. Colleen, you have a neat way of doing these interviews with your list of questions. Tell us about that, please.”

“Hi, Lisa. I thought long and hard about what I could do to help to promote other authors. Then, it occurred to me how hard it’s been for me to learn the art of writing and publishing. So, I thought the idea of using questions and answers would be the perfect way to learn from other author’s experiences.

“I made a huge list because everyone is different in their style of writing. Also, I didn’t want everyone to choose the same questions. I even added some unusual questions, like: “As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?” I was surprised at how many authors have included this question in their interviews.

“The response has been overwhelming, partly because the author has the opportunity to choose what they want to write about. It’s free promotion to share their books, their writing style, and for my readers to learn a few intimate details of the lives of people they know only through blogging and writing.”

“Sounds great! How do authors sign up?”

“The authors can choose from my massive list of questions and by following the instructions HERE. If you’re interested in booking an interview, make sure to read the instructions carefully. My contact information is found in the link.

Conversations with Colleen is a weekly feature held each Wednesday on colleenchesebro.com. I also share these posts on social media. Currently, I’m scheduled through January 2019 and have interview slots available starting in February 2019. If you have a blog, I’m happy to interview you!”

“I’d better have a word with Craig. If he’s going to have a January book release he needs to start contacting you guys.

“All that social media sharing brings me to my next point. Authors tend to get out of the visit what they put in to the visit. I have some who never even show up and comment on the post. I have others who share it everywhere, and even a few that reblog it sporadically for months. I look at the stats, and I know which posts perform better.

“My next guest is Sally Cronin, and she offers several options, including the Cafe and Bookstore. She offers kind of a unique double hit for her guests, fill us all in Sally.”

“Thanks for inviting me along to join these stars of our blogging community Lisa, and I include you very much in that, as your interviews with characters of author’s books, is a creative way to showcase others. We do need to think outside the box when promoting ourselves and others, and the more zany the better. For example, as well as Colleen Chesebro’s Conversations she also entices us in with a Poetry Challenge which is a great way to promote your blog and books. Annette Rochelle Aben who is one of your hosts has a radio podcast – Where the Magic Happens, that both your author and myself have been guests on. The Story Reading Ape was ahead of the game with his Hall of Fame and we consider him the king of this particular jungle.

“You make an excellent point about guests and their level of participation. I often get requests from authors to feature them in the Café and Bookstore, and like you, I spend quite a bit of time putting the post together and promoting it across social media. I do clearly request that the author share across their own networks and also respond individually to those who have taken the time to respond but on a few occasions there is no interaction at all. More than anything the author is not getting the best out of the promotion and is certainly not leaving a good impression with potential readers.”

“Where did you get the idea of the Café and Bookstore which is your primary author promotion and tell us about how you extend the life of the posts?”

“After about two years of blogging, and promoting authors I began to lose track of authors I had showcased, their books and reviews. I put together an alphabetical list of writers and added the Amazon link to buy books, the author’s website, up to seven covers and the most recent review for one of their books. I now have a platform where I can add new authors, keep track of new releases and reviews. In addition I can share the whole bookstore on social media on a regular basis to encourage readers to browse. You can find out how to join the other 150 + authors on the shelves of the bookstore and on the Café and Bookstore page.

“I re-share all posts in my weekly round up on Sundays and this includes the author promotions with a cover and link to their promotion. The round up is one of the busiest posts of the week, and because I post a great deal, many readers pop in on Sunday and visit the posts that they missed. There are thousands of posts published each week, just in the circles we all move within, and it is easy to miss several. I recommend that if anyone posts more than a few times a week that they think about a round up post.”

“Is there anything else you can recommend to authors that will help them promote their work?”

“Despite all the advice out there on book marketing, and about the dangers of over self-promotion, there are still people who bombard us with posts and comments about their own work to the exclusion of others. It simply does not work. You have to remember that the majority of our followers are writers and this means that they are also usually avid readers. They quickly lose interest if the only posts and comments you make are about your books. They won’t buy them, read them or promote them. If you want to build yourself a platform to promote your work, share it with the work of others and see how it flourishes.”

“That’s a good point too, thanks Sally. You can’t post exclusively about your own book. People will turn a deaf ear, and eventually you’ll lose all the followers you worked so hard to gain.

“My next guest offers something very different. Her name is Annette Rochelle Aben, and she offers a podcast. Honestly, Craig just did one of these interviews and said it was a piece of cake. He was worried about saying just the right thing, but it was more like talking with an old friend.

“Annette, tell our listeners how they can take advantage of your podcast and spread the word even further.”

“Reach out, let me know you would like to do a podcast with me and we will send your message out to a world-wide audience.”

“I check Craig’s stats, and I can see how the interviews perform. Do you ever do anything like that?”

“Our tech people give us statistic updates on a monthly basis. Each month those stats increase and for the first ten months of 2018, we had over 5 million hits on the magazine site. This means, over 5 million opportunities for people to hear what you have to say.”

“And how can our listeners contact you?”

“They can contact me through my website, or through the magazine.”

“My next guest is Sue Vincent, whose blog is called the Daily Echo. Sue does something pretty cool in that she also hosts artists and photographers. What this means to an author is her crowd might not be the same crowd you get in other places. Promotion is all about reaching many people, so this can work to your advantage. Welcome, Sue.”

“Hi Lisa, I have to say that this get together is a great idea, although the Small Dog seems to feel that if Apes get fruit baskets, she should have a dog basket. Even the dog runs an open invitation through December for guests to take part in Ani’s Advent calendar. Maybe you could ask Craig if his canine friends would care to come over? The Ape has already agreed to take part.

“I agree with the rest of the party… as a writer, you want to be read, but it’s no good constantly shouting ‘buy my book’…you need to let readers get to know you as a person. Share your passion.  My own blog is eclectic, with most book-related posts on a separate author site. And all the promotion listed here is free and has a potential reach of hundreds of thousands worldwide. While I am happy to host book launches and blog tours, I do keep a daily spot for guest posts, open to writers, artists, musicians and photographers… and bloggers are writers too. Then there is the whole ‘target audience’ thing, and for that I host Living Lore posts with a theme of folklore, myth and legend, and the Elusive Realities spot for true stories of strange personal experiences. Many people have a story to share…and I like sharing.

“I feel I should mention writing challenges too. Colleen runs a weekly poetry challenge, I run a photo prompt every Thursday. We link to every entry, giving extra exposure to writers, I share many of the entries on my blog, and have an open invitation to regulars to come and introduce themselves as my guest. And with all this possible free promo, I seldom have a guest every day! It is easy enough, all I need is a post, links and pics and I’ll do the rest. And neither the Small Dog nor I bite 😉 I am easy to contact through the blog, or by email at findme@scvincent.com.”

“That is a ton of promotional opportunity, Sue. Thanks to you, and all my guests today for participating.

“Looks like it falls to me to wrap it all up. Lisa Burton Radio is here to interview your fictional characters. I rarely interview actual people or – you know, apes. Getting your character on the show is as easy as sending an email to coldhand.boyack@gmail.com.

“Think about all the ways you can expose your work, and none of it costs a dime. They are all unique, and would make a nice blog tour if you plan ahead. My own author has done exactly that several times.

“Since we’re supporting blog hosts today, I’m asking the authors out there to share this post far and wide. Use those sharing buttons, reblog the post. I’ll be adding it to Flipboard, Mix, and several others along with the big social media sites. You might even want to bookmark it for future reference.

“For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton. Now I’m heading to Amazon to find a doggie basket.”

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A little update

We cancelled our weekend camping trip, so we’re going to be sticking around the house this weekend. When I left my office, it was 100 degrees outside. The low country was pretty much that temperature. When I climbed up to the bench, it hit 106.

Bulldogs tip over and die at those temperatures. Our weekend would have been spent with wet towels, possibly dunking dogs in the lake, etc. That doesn’t sound like much of a camp out to me.

My plan is to write as much as possible. We might get a shot at date night since payday is in about five hours.

In other news, I created a BookBub account. People who are smarter than me said it’s the place to be, so now I am. I’m still figuring it all out, and it seems like a kinder gentler version of Goodreads.

I’m telling you this so you can all rush over there and check it out. I’ll need BookBub friends, and the extremely generous ones can post your reviews there too. Okay enough pimping my new location. Here is my BookBub Link. I’m open to any tips you guys have about finding my way around there.

New topic. Rosie’s Book Review Team has been extremely kind to me over the years. These wonderful ladies take a chance on my books and post honest reviews. I’m thrilled that those reviews have all been favorable.

If you’re an author, you need to know about this group. What better way to check out their site than to check out the five-star review Robbie Cheadle gave to The Yak Guy Project. I’ll be monitoring the comments and hope to see you there. Feel free to share the post on your various social media accounts.

Here is the link” Rosie’s Book Review Team.

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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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My 2018 Business Plan

Like most years, I’m going to assume this will get lost in a sea of New Year’s Resolution posts. I’ve been pleasantly surprised in the past, so I’ll put it up today and see how it fares.

This year, my business plan is going to look a bit different. In the past it was all about taking on one more thing. Maybe that would be the thing that helped me really accomplish something. I always felt like if I worked just a bit harder, maybe it would be enough.

What I wound up doing was dedicating so much to those things that I had much less time for writing. I enjoy writing, and hate social media, so why did I go down that path? Previous business plans always included time for something new to test out. To be honest, Goodreads, Facebook, and Google Plus have all been a disappointment. Twitter still seems to provide some benefit, but not when compared to the time it requires. Facebook requires payment for anything to actually get seen now.

This year, I’m going to fall for yet another author philosophy. Most of these have a grain of truth to them, even though nothing seems to be the magic bullet. This one is: the best promotion an author can do is to release his next book.

I’m excited about 2018, because I have a head start. I have two complete books to release in the vault right now.

The Yak Guy ProjectThe oldest one is The Yak Guy Project. This is the novel I submitted to a publisher. If it isn’t picked up, I could release it around the end of winter. If it is picked up, there is still a chance it would be a 2018 release.

If a publisher wants it, the cover will probably change, but I can live with that. I can still use my Lisa Burton posters for promotion. The only thing remaining is to send it to my formatter, and that takes about a week.

Yak Guy is the one about a lazy young man who wakes up in an alternative world. He must learn many of the things he failed to learn in his previous life. He is helped along the way by a string of mentors and situation that are based upon the Major Arcana of the tarot.

The HatI’m also parked on The Hat. I’m excited about this one. I really enjoyed crafting these characters and having them interact with each other. This one will come out some time in January, and it’s already back from the formatter. I really like the Lisa Burton posters for this one too. Something new for me is the idea that Lizzie and the hat have more stories to tell, and could show up again one day.

The Hat is about a hard working young woman who’s dealing with some bad breaks. She comes across an old hat that is actually a being from another dimension. Together they form a symbiosis that allows them to accomplish more than either of them could do alone. Like I said, I’m really excited about the characters in this one. It gets pretty crazy and I think you guys will like it.

During my vacation, I only got two short windows to work on Estivation. I’m about ten percent of the way into it. My intention is to have this also be a novella, but I can’t be certain until I finish it. I’ve adopted the idea that stories will be as long as they need to be.

This means, if I manage to write about 30,000 new words of fiction this year, I will have three books release in 2018. I’m pretty sure I can manage that and more.

Releasing a book is also work, I might add. I’ll need to pre-write at least thirty blog tour posts to release three books. I have a living document with topics, and can reuse the topics for each book. There is also monitoring of those posts and all that goes with it.

If luck holds out, I will have ample time to write Macabre Macaroni stories for October, and may even manage a few short stories. Enough short stories could lead to a third Experimental Notebook, maybe for 2019. I’d also like to start on another novel length work.

In order to do this, some things have to go. The Entertaining Stories blog has always been ground zero for my writing career, and I’m going to keep it that way. I also want to dedicate myself to making Story Empire even bigger and more valuable to our followers over there.

Entertaining Stories feeds into all the popular social media sites, so I’ll have a presence on them. I get Facebook alerts, so that helps to a degree. (Even though most of them are from Facebook reaching for my wallet.) My blog even feeds into Goodreads and my Amazon author page.

I’ve never been hard to find, and the blog is a pretty easy way to reach me. However, I can still be found on the other places too. I just won’t monitor those as closely as the past.

Giving up some of the social media time means taking time for more of what I enjoy. I have some favorite authors I haven’t read in years. I want to remedy that in 2018.

I’ve always been a sporadic blogger, and that isn’t likely to change. I tend to land about five posts per week, occasionally more or less. I also have to keep to my Story Empire schedule.

I should also have more time to dedicate to invitations. I try to provide whatever a host asks for, but it got difficult last year. I want to enjoy any guest appearances or mutual promos we manage to come up with.

Lisa Burton Radio is still a blast for me, and it seems to be well received every week. I’ll stick with Thursdays for Lisa’s show. She is about due for another wave of guests as I type this. Keep this promo opportunity in mind if you’re doing a blog tour or just want to reach a new audience. I enjoy working with all the talented people on these, so there is something in it for me too.

And that’s it for my 2018 goals. They should be easy to reach. They should allow me more freedom to accept what comes my way. They should also be a lot more fun.

So welcome, 2018. We’re excited to have you. Lisa even says you can borrow her shoes.

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