Tag Archives: statistics

Macabre Assessment

There is never a good time to assess a cluster of posts. The first one had longer to get discovered than the last one. This seems like as good a time as any to tally up some results that won’t teach me a damned thing.

Every year, I’m baffled by the results, and this year is no different. My favorite is never your favorite, and that’s okay. I’m not going to change my novel writing schedule based upon the assessment of 1000 word blog posts.

Your favorite story was the one called Flipping. It involved a property flipper who had a ghostly encounter inside his newest acquisition. I have to admit there was a strong character in this one, and I think that carried the banner to victory.

Your least favorite one was All the Time in the World. This one involved a time traveler who screwed his own timeline up beyond repair.

Dishonorable mention to Companionship, that involved a ghostly dog waiting for his owner in a rest home. It only had one more view than the time travel story did.

The rest fell somewhere in the middle. My favorite was Our Secret lives about two werewolves who hate each other in their human lives, but are mates when the full moon shows up.

You also liked the Halloween Pack about the app that created a monster. It had a certain Goosebumps quality to it that I thought was fun too.

What does it all mean? Nothing actually. Maybe it involved the day I posted, and the results would be completely different if I’d changed the order.

I’m leaning toward doing it again next year. It all depends upon life and what it throws at me. I write them for my own entertainment as much as anything, but I hope you enjoyed them too.

I’m not going to scrap any works in progress, or storyboards, and rush right into another haunted house story based upon these results. They’re just for us to have fun. Maybe to start a discussion.

There are a couple of points to make here. If you missed one, or just want to revisit them, they are under the “Short Stories & Vignettes” category in my sidebar. You might find some other interesting things there too.

Lastly, I want to touch upon the point that I have books available. If short stories and micro-fiction is your thing, I have either two or three collections depending upon how you score them. I say this, because The Enhanced League stories serve to tell a bigger tale overall. The Experimental Notebooks involve more true collections.

All of the short fiction is .99ยข on Amazon.

Lisa wants to know if there are any tricks to removing “Sharpie” marker from your skin.

Lisa Burton

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2017 can kiss my ass

Every year, I try to do an assessment of the year that was. I follow this up with something I call a business plan for the new year. This is my assessment of 2017.

I always have a few goals, and 17 was no exception. I wanted to release The Enhanced League, and The Yak Guy Project. I’m going to declare victory, but it rings kind of hollow.

I released The Enhanced League around the time of Major League Baseball’s Allstar Break. It was a little bit off from the Opening Day release I had planned. Honestly, it sold like crazy… for about two weeks. Then it completely died. I haven’t moved a single copy since the end of July.

Reviews of Enhanced League were all positive. I don’t like throwing a lot of money behind my 99ยข specials, because my royalty is about 34ยข per copy. I view my short form stuff as a way to drive readers to take a chance on my novels.

I knew a fictional baseball league would have a limited audience, so I was aware this could happen. I also know that baseball returns like Spring flowers, and it could have some longevity over the years. (I count down opening day like others countdown Christmas.)

The Yak Guy is a finished book and has been for several months. (Yeah, you can’t read it yet, but I’m looking for something positive about 2017.) I drug my feet here, for a lot of reasons. I waited for a couple of my favorite beta readers to have an opening, and took their advice to heart. I also wanted to submit it to a publisher. This caused me to hem & haw and drag my feet. Yeah, I’m a procrastinator.

I waited for openings with these readers, because I lost my critique group. We held on for years, then everyone kind of drifted away. I found the process very helpful, but there is nothing I can do about it now.

Yak Guy is the story of a spoiled and lazy young man who winds up in an alternate world. He has to learn a thing or two to even survive, let alone thrive. This is the one I based upon the Fool’s Journey from the Tarot. Yak Guy meets many mentors along his journey, and astute observers might recognize them from the Tarot.

I fiddled around for a month or so, then submitted it to a publisher. All I have to do is wait around and see what happens. It’s one of those where they don’t reject you, they simply don’t respond at all. I sent a nice cover letter and a synopsis. About two days after I sent it away, I realized they wanted the synopsis in the body of the email. Mine is an attachment, so it’s probably an automatic rejection. How do you do a cover letter if that isn’t the body of the email?

Aside from that Quantum Wanderlust is the the only other thing I had cooking. This involves one short story, Swift Wings, that is part of a larger anthology. I even did a small bit of promotion and commissioned some Lisa Burton artwork to help things along. It seems to be holding its own, but reviews have been hard to come by. There are some fabulous authors in this collection, so you might want to check it out.

That’s my entire 2017 publishing file. One actual book, and one short story.

My blog stats are stagnant. I have almost exactly the same number of views as I did in 2016. In past years, my stats grew exponentially every year. This concerns me, because this blog is the heart of my presence online. There were referrals from all of the popular social media sites, so that’s good. The biggest referrer was Flipboard. Flipboard is kind of strange, because one post can go crazy there, the others can be completely ignored. Facebook and Twitter are more stable.

The majority of clicks on my site were on media. I checked it out and they are all Lisa Burton art. I wish they were my books, but I can handle this. It has to do with that tiny bit of subconscious recognition. Ya’ll come back, there will be more art and you might decide to read something too.

Lisa Burton Radio grew by leaps and bounds. I was nearly able to post every week. The only gaps were ones I caused, and I can live with that. Children’s books appeared for the first time, and overall they were really popular posts.

There are some things I do here on a sporadic basis. The Idea Mill posts and my October event called Macabre Macaroni. These continue to be popular, but not overwhelmingly so. A lot of authors visit here, but not all of them are speculative fiction authors. To them, the Idea Mill might be amusing, but it doesn’t exactly relate to what they write. I’m going to keep doing these, because I enjoy them. I think I’m allowed a bit of fun on occasion.

The Macabre Macaroni that got the best response was the one about the comatose lady who imagined life with the daughter she lost. I never know which one is going to be the favorite from short story to short story.

I’ve been around long enough that my old posts are getting regular action now. This is a good thing. They aren’t all gems, but it’s nice when a few of them have longevity. I like to think I have a chance of gaining followers when they search for something and find me.

Story Empire is a group blog I helped create. This site is growing like crazy, and I’m honored to be part of it. It started smaller, so it’s easier to gain growth. (It’s easy to get 100% growth when you have one follower; that theory.) It’s doing very well. We did a group promotion we called the Bookmobile, and it was a rousing success for me. All we did was post on each others’ sites, but I moved more copies during this event than any other time of the year. Unfortunately, it was the only group promo we did. I hope we can cobble something together again in 2018. (Hint, if the rest of you stop by.)

On the writing front, it wasn’t great. Flat blog stats, only one book release and it was short lived, and one anthology story. The anthology is still selling, so there’s that.

On the personal front, 2017 pretty much sucked. Part of this was the 2016 political landscape. It felt more like the line from Ghostbusters than anything else. “Choose the form of the destroyer.” Nice to have a choice, but a destroyer none-the-less.

We thought we were doing a good thing by adopting two bulldog puppies instead of one. We wanted to save a tiny baby from a cargo flight to Florida. With their short faces and breathing issues, it was a coin toss as to whether she would be alive at the other end. We brought home Frankie and Nyx. Nyx died in my arms on the Fourth of July. She got heat stroke in a shady back yard with access to plenty of water. My son swears she was only outside for about fifteen minutes. I guess she would have been better off trying to go to Florida. There isn’t a day that passes without my thinking of her.

Shortly after that, their older brother Otto hurt his back. He literally crawled around using his front legs and dragging his hind legs for over a month. He woke up in the middle of the night screaming on more than one occasion. Fortunately, many dollars and drugs later he is back to his active old self.

I feel for him more than you know. I did something to my own back in early December, and missed a week of work. There were times when I needed help to get out of bed or to lift the toilet seat. I had my own drugs to help things along, and am still not perfect. I missed an occasional work day even after the first week.

Somewhere along the way, we lost half of our annual income. My goal was to pay off as much as we could before this happened, but it landed about four months early. We’ll be okay, but it is a life changing set of circumstances. On the bright side, we had that income when Otto was in pain. I shudder to think of the choice I might have been forced to make had the resource dried up back then.

I wound up getting some kind of flu on a working trip during the summer. On a positive note, it led to Marissa Bergen to write a song called Vending Machine Imodium. Marissa completely made it worthwhile.

So overall, 2017 didn’t have much to recommend it. I’m going to take it for a walk in the desert. Just look at the flowers, 2017. What? This revolver is for protection from coyotes.

My 2018 business plan will post shortly after the new year arrives, and it’s going to be a lot more positive. I try to assess the year honestly, but my outlook is unfazed.

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Let’s talk about blogging

I admit to not being the best blog friend lately. In my defense, I've been kind of busy. One of the things I did was to create a list in WordPress. I follow over a thousand blogs, but those who interact went in that list. When I'm pressed for time, I limit myself to that list.

Blogging seems to have slowed down from my point of view. I've been at this since the Fall of 2013, and I suppose that makes me an old timer. People come and go, and I've gotten used to that. I had many friends who simply disappeared for various reasons. It seemed like new bloggers came along, but lately that isn't the case.

Maybe I should clarify a bit. New ones are out there, but they seem to be different. This is reflected in the stats: My views are up, but my likes and comments are down. I miss the interaction.

I've discovered a few new blogs over the past year. I tried courting them, but I get nothing back in return. Maybe you know this game. You comment on an interesting post or two. Maybe you get a “thanks,” or a comment like. They never visit my blog.

This doesn't make the person's blog any less interesting, but interaction is important to me. If I get interaction, I'm likely to keep up and leave comments. If it's a one way street, I don't have time for that.

I find it odd that the likes have gone down on my blog, but the views are way up. I had a couple of posts this year that did phenomenally well, but they never made it onto my top ten posts.

For the top ten, I use a WordPress widget. I had it set to track likes as the criteria. The post about Spying With Lana had thousands of views, but didn't get the 45 likes to make my top ten. This is odd, because the percentage of likes to views has changed.

My post about writing a short story went crazy thanks to Flipboard. Again, thousands of views. Never gained enough likes to make the list. There were more commenters than likes.

Recently, I changed the widget to track views instead. This screwed everything up to be honest. The post about my PSA and prostate warning should still be in the top ten. My “about me” page should too. Spying With Lana should show up too, but doesn't. This setting seems to only track the last week of posts for some reason. It said it takes about two days to fully adjust, so I'll monitor the situation.

I still get a few people who like every post, but never comment. I always assume they like it from the WordPress Reader, but don't actually read the posts. I know everyone gets a few of these, and don't give it a second thought.

The fact is that I've noticed a change in blogging. This is data, and it probably means something. What can I do with the data to move my writing career ahead?

I love blogging, and the friends I've made here. I have no intention of giving it up. My readers come for various reasons, but I have a small loyal crowd.

Is it time for me to look for an additional platform? It isn't just the followers and friends. This is an author site, and I want to build interest in my books. Is there something extra I should be doing?

I've had private conversations with some fellow authors, and the consensus is that fewer bloggers are willing to help these days. This is a limited group, but it concerns me. Authors need hosts for cover reveals, promotions, excerpts, and more. I've always helped, and intend to keep helping, but again… This is data, and it means something, even if I don't know what.

When I asked for beta readers for The Playground, I had two people take me up on it. This is in stark contrast to The Experimental Notebook where I started turning people away after seven volunteers.

I will always need beta readers, but if I have to start paying for them, I might stop publishing altogether. My writing journey has never been about the money, but I need to break even. I still get the journey of self improvement without the worry of promotion.

I admit these are limited observations. Maybe a bigger view would produce different data. So I have a few questions for you as bloggers and as authors.

My views are exponentially higher than 2015. This is great! My likes and comments are down, and that's odd. What does this mean? Are people just stopping by to collect new Lisa Burton art? They're welcome to it, of course, (I use them for iPad and iPhone backgrounds too) but a comment or two goes a long way.

Could it be that I'm reaching more people beyond WordPress, and it isn't simple for them to like or comment? If so, that's great. I've run into that problem myself, and understand.

Are fellow authors having a harder time getting help with promotions, hosts, and pushes?

Have I missed the newest form of social media somewhere, and need to jump on the bandwagon?

Do you prefer interaction, or would you rather have people read and move on?

Has anyone else courted an interesting blogger, but the relationship never happened? Maybe I'm strange that way.

In any case, I'm on vacation for a few days, and hope to get some writing done. Today was all about errands, and those are out of the way. I'll probably post a little more frequently this weekend, and I'll try to catch up on some blog reading. I promise to like the posts I read.

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What the heck?

Yesterday I posted a short story tip I thought people might enjoy. I kind of expected the usual suspects would give me about 60 views, maybe a reblog from someone who likes writing tips.

When I woke up this morning, that kind of looked like the case. A good post by my usual standards, some nice comments. Then I checked my stats. This post had over 450 views.

I thought one of the heavy hitters might have reblogged my post, but that wasn't the case. There are no reblogs.

I dug deeper, and my new visitors all came from Flipboard. This is the outfit that absorbed Zite magazine who I really loved. I have it set up to gather topics of interest for me. One of the things I can do is set up my own magazine, so I did that a few months ago and called it Entertaining Stories. Unless I'm just whining, I throw a link to my posts in there and don't pay a ton of attention to it. I've also thrown out posts by friends when they have a new release, or something particularly interesting.

I've shared all of the Lisa Burton Radio posts there in an attempt to drive my guests some traffic. Same thing for blog tour guests.

To be real honest with you, I thought it might be Facebook, or even StumbleUpon. I never expected this kind of traffic from Flipboard.

When I went to check it out, I was the top article in two different writing categories. I snapped a photo to share it with you.

Geez, if I'd have thought everyone was coming over I'd have gone with a book cover or something instead of my bronze bust.

The rest of the stats are kind of baffling. Take a look at these:

I'm over 2000 views at the time of this writing, and it's still climbing. Most of those people probably aren't in the WordPress system, because I only have 27 likes. This is my most popular post of all time, but without the likes it won't get into my top 10 in the sidebar.

Don't take this as a complaint. I'm happy to get action anyplace I can. That also means a few people read one of my micro-fiction pieces. There are even a few sales of Notebook to sweeten the deal.

Now if I could only figure out something intelligent to say about my other books, I'd be golden. I have no idea how to duplicate this process, but maybe something will come to me.

You can bet one thing, I'm going to be sharing more posts on Flipboard. This is another reason to have your characters appear on Lisa Burton Radio too, because I'm sharing the posts there.

I'm off to Atlanta in the morning. I'll probably manage a short update from the road, but I expect to be pretty busy.

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Holy Cow!

I never imagined my post about my squishy parts would be so interesting. It quickly became my most popular post, and reblogged dozens of times. It even out scored my about me page. Thank you all.

“Public Service Announcement” currently has 146 likes, and 136 comments. This is miles ahead of my other posts.

My post generated 164 views the day of posting, and 207 overall views. The next day it was 288 for the post, and 294 for the blog. These numbers may not blow bigger bloggers away, but for a guy that regularly gets about 50 views per day it's phenomenal.

There were dozens of new followers too, which is awesome. The best part was someone who used my post to convince her husband to get his own checkup. It makes the whole thing worthwhile.

I had a fleeting thought about an email saying I got Fresh Pressed. I'm not disappointed, because that isn't what my blog is about. Still, it would have been cool.

Welcome to all my new friends. I hope you'll stick around, but I don't usually post about my parts. This is a writing blog, but I think it's a fun one.

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A day, in which I don’t like things

If you aren’t into tantrums, here’s your opportunity to skip this post. We will still be friends.

I am not a patient guy, but I try. One of the things I do is give things time before making a judgment. I still have to force myself, but I’m improving.

After much deliberation, and a reasonable amount of time, I don’t like the new and improved WordPress.

I still think it’s the best blogging platform out there, but they’ve certainly made it less user friendly for those who blog. Here are my examples:

  • I can’t stand the new and improved stats display. It looks like bad chibi anime to me. I vote every single time I check stats, but apparently it was to placate serious users with no real value behind it. I’ve been clicking to display the old stats page, but now they forced me to swipe through all the new displays to the bottom before I can see any stats that make sense. It has the feeling of a close out sale. “Once they’re gone, they’re gone.”
  • I am pretty disappointed that I can no longer open a page of my comments, likes, and follows. I am getting a lot of action these days, and the scroll thingie doesn’t work all that well. I would be mortified if I couldn’t acknowledge someone’s comment, and am afraid I might have missed one or two.
  • None of the changes work well with iOS. I’m sure there aren’t many Apple fans out there, so why bother. (Rolls eyes.) When I try to respond to a comment, the display actually jerks around, and I wind up hitting the wrong button half the time. The send button isn’t reliable when I do manage to hit it.
  • I know it’s old now, but I don’t like the new post “beep beep boop” version either. I always click through to the older one, but wonder how long that will remain. Even it doesn’t like iOS very well. I write most of my posts in Pages these days, and paste them into the new post.
  • I want the link option to work every single time. Two thirds of the time, when I highlight a section, the link option greys out. I have to choose a different word to highlight until the link option is available. ( Three or four times, minimum.) Only then can I make the link I originally wanted.
  • I want the ability to include a picture when using my iPhone. I usually write these on my iPad, but sometimes it isn’t available. The entire iPhone version is frustrating.

I feel like a hacker whenever I use WordPress these days. Nearly everything is becoming a work around. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going anywhere, but I feel like WordPress developers ought to actually use the software on various platforms before they release it to the masses.

I loved BlogPad Pro, but they decided not to update it when iOS 8 came out. It has a bug now that allows me to type faster than it can think. I’m not a fast typist.

Do any of you know of a reliable app that does WordPress better than WordPress?

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Where did the time go?

I just received notice that today is my one year blogiversary. I started this project to promote my fiction, but it’s evolved into so much more.

I really look forward to reading your blogs and communicating with you guys. I haven’t accomplished a whole lot, not when you compare my successes to others. I’ve read the blogs that say, “I just hit 3500 followers after only three months. OMG!!! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ”

Well, I haven’t done quite that well. I currently have 536 blog followers. I’m sure I could have done better if I’d played the awards game, but I really don’t regret that. I had things I wanted to say, and I’m glad I put my efforts there. I don’t think I’m going to get my 666 followers by Halloween.

This post will be number 306. I fell into a posting schedule that excludes Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’m kind of sporadic though, and sometimes post then too. All during October I’ll be posting Halloween stories on Thursdays. Therefore; not quite every day posting.

We’ve covered a lot of ground. We baked sourdough bread, cooked chicken under a rock, and visited an island of discarded story elements. We spent a lot of time at the writing cabin, gathered wild morel mushrooms, and made a few guest posts too. I have no idea where I’m taking this in the future, but there is bound to be some writing related stuff.

The most popular post so far was my micro fiction, “Jack ‘O Lantern.” There are more of these coming, every Thursday in October. It’s so new I won’t post a link for it.

My favorite post was a personal one about my English Setter. This was back when I only had about ten followers, but every word of it is true. You can read it here, if you’re so inclined. I can’t promise more like it, for obvious reasons.

The oddest thing was a post about my Muse, Lorelei. I called it Purple Nurple. It wasn’t that it was a great post or anything, it’s that someone Googles it every week and reads it. This cracks me up, but I have a theory it isn’t what they were searching for.

I’ve made some great friends here, and look forward to those relationships growing even bigger in the next year. I also look forward to all the new friends to come.

Thank you all for welcoming me and my imaginary friends into your world. WordPress friends are awesome.

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Holy, just, Wow!

Last night I wanted to gain two more views to tie my all time record, and three for the win. I woke up to about forty more than that. I’m overwhelmed at the reception my micro fiction is receiving. Many of you went back and read last week’s story too.

I jumped in the shower and lathered up my head and beard. I heard the door open and peeked out behind the curtain.

Lorelei* primped her hair in my mirror. She had on a black jogging suit from the Coeur d’Alene Resort.

“What the– I’ll be out in a minute.”

She looked me up and down. “Relax.” She wiggled a finger toward my nether region. “Cover your little self up, and I’ll make the room coffee. I want to talk to you about something.”

I rinsed my hair and wrapped up in a towel. She was on my iPad and going through my blog stats.

I made a quick dash for some underwear and pants. Lorelei smirked as I dashed by.

I pulled a comb through my hair and grabbed my coffee.

“You’ve been blog wanking.” She gave me that stern look that all women possess.

“Well, um, yeah, a little.”

“That’s a dangerous habit. Your fiction is strong enough to be interesting without resorting to tricks.”

“But I got my extra views, and received more likes than ever too. WordPress even sent me a badge.”

“Really? How old are you? What’s next a sticker and gold star?” She took my coffee and started drinking it. “It’s a neat trick, but the reblog of your friends promotion would have gotten you enough views, and it was a nice thing to do.”

“Okay. I’ll behave.”

“You have to save it for special occasions. If you become like the boy who cried wolf, you’ll lose credibility.”

I poured myself a new cup of coffee. “I need to get ready for work, but I promise not to get addicted to blog wanking.”

“Good boy.” She finished her/my coffee and opened the door. “I have a spa appointment, then I’m going on a lake cruise to look for eagles. Have a good day at work, and behave.”
***

Thanks everyone for the red letter day at Entertaining Stories. Time for work.

* Lorelei is my Muse; my cranky Muse today.

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