Tag Archives: street team

Time for some street-team help

First a little locator to help you all find your way:

My newest book, “The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II” is available for presale right now. This is another collection of short stories and micro-fiction with an unusual bent to them.

It will deliver on August 31st, and it’s probably best to wait for then before taking on any kind of blog tour. That way I can take advantage of those spur-of-the-moment sales, because the book delivers immediately. This isn’t a cruel thought process in my mind, because the book is only 99¢. Less than a pack of gum.

Because of the price, I don’t want to hire an expensive blog tour, or spend a ton of money on it. I think my royalty per sale is something like 35¢. The goal here is to share some stories, have some fun, and maybe build curiosity in my larger body of work.

What I’m looking for is people who would like to host me, or my assistant Lisa, on their blogs. I’m willing to custom write the pieces depending on what you think your regulars would appreciate.

The normal topics are inspiration, characters, the difference between short stories and novels, that kind of thing. Excerpts are hard to deliver, because these are all short stories and micro-fiction.

For Lisa’s appearances, I commissioned two new pieces of art. One relates to pulp science fiction, and the other to pulp horror. She can deliver a poster for your blog and talk about her role in helping me write. She can get into other topics if you prefer.

So my plea today is: Who wants to host either Lisa Burton the robot girl, or me as part of a cheap blog tour? If you do, what kind of topic would you prefer? I have a few weeks to write them up and get them delivered.

I have my keyboard all ready to go. Lisa has the biplane all fueled up and a roll of posters waiting. I even changed my banner to reflect that. Most of my regulars have my email address, and new folks are welcome to volunteer in the comments.

For the rest of you, every little bit helps. The simple act of retweeting my pinned tweet about the launch, or adding it on Goodreads is very helpful.


Filed under Writing

Strange times this week

There were some fun things on the blog this week. Lisa Burton Radio is a hit, even if the rest of the blog world feels slow right now.  Has anyone else noticed things slowing down online?

John W. Howell’s character, John Cannon did a booming business. I even received several more inquiries for fictional characters to get on Lisa’s radio show. I mailed out a cluster of questionnaires last night. First come first served, so I expect to be working on one or two over the weekend.

I mailed out a plethora of covers and small blurbs. Next time I’ll organize the Book of Heroes a little better to keep track of what everyone volunteered for. I don’t think I missed anyone, but one email is undeliverable due to …magic, I don’t know. A cluster of email is not the best way to keep track of groups.

I received a 15 year placard at work this week. It’s nice, but the bubble wrap it came in is more fun. Work was a zoo. I had meetings and stresses galore, but it’s over for three days. Today started out frosty and grey. The sun came out about noon, and so did the squirrels. (I’m not referring to arboreal rodents.)

For relaxation this weekend I’m going to try getting The Playground published. (This isn’t relaxing. I’m joking.) There may be some Irish whiskey left over to help me. My goal is to pepper the internet with cover art and blurbs, then follow it up with some creative blog posts that include a purchase link. To do that, I need a purchase link.

That reminds me, I’d better make sure the Mac is all up to date before I go to bed. It seems like there is always an update for it. Amazon publishing doesn’t work on my iPad, or I’d use it. If I get the updates done tonight, tomorrow should go easier. Fingers crossed. I expect problems with the new table of contents rules. My novels all use numbered chapters, so I don’t see the appeal. I made a nice functional one for Experimental Notebook, so I have done it once. (If I could only remember how.)

If I have any kind of success, and the weather continues, I have two fruit trees I’d like to get pruned. After that, it’s all about promoting, updating things with the new book, and blogging. I’ve already got requests for a couple of Lisa visits to promote the new book, and I need to write and deliver those too.

I’m not earmarking any time for my work in progress, but Monday is a slim possibility.

It’s a plan. It isn’t a giant plan, but the steps are important ones.


Filed under Writing

Street Teamers, it’s about that time

I promised to post about my next book today, and how you can become part of the street team. I know approximately what I want, but actually writing it out clarifies things a bit for me.

The Playground is a short novel at just under 70,000 words. It involves a greedy businessman who markets a new social media for children, the Playground Network. Kids access the media via a line of specific toys.

The network is marketed one way, but has dark intentions behind it. To accelerate his master plan, the businessman turns to the occult.

This book explores the idea that maybe our kids spend too much time online these days. They speak with people who aren't who they seem, and believe authorities with no basis in fact. They don't spend enough time with their parents, or real live friends.

It's told from the point of view of three separate characters. This was my personal challenge in this story. I want to weave together three different story lines to tell one larger story.

These characters are:

  • Chloe, who acquires the fashion doll of her dreams. Chloe represents the victims here. Think of her like the girl in the well.
  • Gina, a cancer survivor. She is a doctor and is basically a broken person at the beginning of the story. She has her own brush with the occult, and may be the only one who can end this nonsense.
  • Clovis, a brutal thug hired by the businessman to retrieve some computer codes that will take his Playground Network to a terrifying level.

The story goes to some crazy places, like conjuring the spirit of a dead medium, a voodoo practitioner, dealing with parasites, and living with an obnoxious dog. I think it's fun.


I've looked at it until my eyes are crossed. I'm sure it needs a few tweaks, and that's when it's ready for beta readers.


I'm asking for a few beta reader volunteers who can read this book within 30 days or so. The betas can be as ruthless and brutal as they want. I'm looking for story assistance here, but always appreciate the grammar and spelling and such if you spot something.


The folks who usually volunteer all have my email address, but I welcome new folks too. Here is my email address if you want a copy Coldhand (dot) Boyack (at) gmail (dot) com.


I'll probably add some detail to my cover email when the copies are sent. I'll also send a copy of the book cover.


While the beta readers have the hardest job, a street team involves so much more. If you'd like to participate in a cover reveal, let me know. If you'd like to host a blog tour date, I'll be writing those posts too. Lisa the robot girl has her biplane fueled up and a great new poster to hand out to those who host her. I'll be writing a couple of posts with Lisa in mind. If you have an interview idea, I'm open to that too.


Volunteers are welcome to do as much or as little as they want. I'm always grateful for any help I get. I promise to keep a spreadsheet this time so everyone gets the right items.


So there is my call to action. No rallying cry, or cheese involved. I hope to hear from you. (Lies in the fetal position and crosses fingers.)


My next project is to write a blurb, and about a dozen guest posts. I did manage a few new words on The Yak Guy project this morning.


Filed under Writing

The game changes

Lisa* and I decided to try a bit of editing out at the writing cabin. New words were hung up in my headache, but editing seemed like a possibility. /there might be a small chance to spruce up The Playground.

“Okay, Lisa. You're out for a walk, and it's cold outside. You have your pea coat on, and your special work bag.”

“Oh crap. Do you think I should order a pea coat?”

“Just wing it, and we'll go over the dialog one more time.”

“I don't know. It would probably come across better if I had a pea coat. Should I order a blue one, or a tan one?”

“It doesn't matter. It won't be here in time.”

“Good point. I ordered one anyway.” She looked down at the antique blunderbuss and toyed with the hammer. “Oh cool. They have a pink one too. I'd better order both of them.”

“Can we get back to work now?”

“And a scarf. They would look really cute with my pea coats.” Her eyes fluttered the way they do when she's online.

I figured I'd lost her down a rabbit hole of matching nail polish, and probably some shoes that match the new coats.

In the last month, I've read The Playground a dozen times or more. It has three point of view characters, and I even read those sections like short stories all at once. “Let's give up for the night. I don't think I'm improving anything from here on out. It needs fresh eyes.”

I closed my word processor and checked email. There were a few new Facebook likes, some blog likes, and a note from Mom. “Woo Hoo! Look at this?”

“What? Is there another color of pea coat?”

“No! It's the cover to The Playground.”

Lisa jumped up and ran behind my desk to look for herself. She put a hand to her mouth and bent at the knees. “Oh my God. Sean Harrington is so talented. Does this mean we're publishing tonight?”

“Noooo. You haven't been listening. The manuscript needs fresh eyes.”

“Will you put out a call for beta readers again?”

“Not just beta readers. A whole street team. Maybe I need a cry to action, something like, Avengers Assemble!”

“Do you want the Avengers?”

“Yeah, kind of, but I doubt that's going to happen. It would make a great call to action though.”

“It already has. Maybe you should just ask nicely. You know, like the last time.”

“Yeah, that works too. Alright then, Wednesday night I'll ask for volunteers. I need some time to think about what I want. It's only polite to tell people what they can volunteer for. There are the beta readers, the cover reveal, maybe a reviewer or two. Then I need to get people to host me, and you too. You aren't getting off the hook on this one.”

“I'm sure. I have my new poster all ready to hand out.”

“While the betas are working, I can write some guest posts. It's easy enough to grab an excerpt to share.”

“Do you want me to put the blunderbuss in the basement with the other story elements?”

I picked up the antique gun and shouldered it. “It really is cool. Maybe we ought to display it up here.”

“Don't they traditionally go over a fireplace?”

“Good plan. Why don't you hang it over the fireplace in the paranormal office. The Playground is a paranormal story.”

“Got it. What are you going to do?”

“I'm going to go home and see if the X-Files is on tonight.”

“Goodnight then. See you Wednesday?”

“Absolutely. Exelcior!”

“Give it up. Just ask everyone nicely. You don't need a stupid battle cry.”

I headed past the paranormal office toward the landing strip.

*Lisa Burton is my robotic personal assistant. She's also the official spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories.

A 'No Prize' for anyone who recognized Lisa's outfit as one she bought in her short story, Bombshell Squad.

~~~ “Stop with the Marvel rip offs. I'm reading your blog.”



Filed under Muse, Writing

Looking at 2015

Many people post about New Year’s Resolutions, and WordPress will be flooded with them next weekend. I’ve always avoided that, but like to create a loose business plan. It’s hard to look ahead without looking back, so that’s what I’m doing today. This will probably not be one of my 300 word posts.

Last year about this time, I committed to getting new business cards, adding one new version of social media to my arsenal, and publishing two new novels.

I got and distributed the business cards. These were mostly left at various bulletin boards, or at the table in a restaurant somewhere. So far, I have no idea whether I’ve accomplished something or not. I know it can’t hurt, but I wish there were a way to track performance.

I signed up for Goodreads. I haven’t been overly impressed, but I’m probably not working it the way I should either. I think it’s “neat,” in that it provides another way for someone to discover my stories.

As far as the two novels go, that didn’t quite work out. I wrote two new novels, but only published Will O’ the Wisp. I learned by publishing Arson during the Summer that Summer is a bad time to release a book.

It’s a good idea to put a manuscript away for a while before editing it. I finished The Playground in May. To distract myself, I turned to short fiction. This short form stuff turned into the Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack. The plan changed when I decided to publish it.

Both Wisp and Notebook deserved some promotional effort, and The Playground took a back seat.

On a wild hair, I decided to make Lisa the robot girl into the spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories. Then I had to figure out what to do with her. I ordered some fresh blog art, and it was very well received. She got asked occasionally to make a guest appearance on various blogs, and these were always fun, because I had to write them in character.

When it came time to go on blog tours, I added Lisa to the mix when I pre-wrote my tour posts. Then I got the crazy idea of making posters about the books, featuring Lisa.

The little push I organized for Notebook was very well received, and the posters the hosts put up were quite popular. The paid promotions for Wisp were also popular, but I didn’t have a ton of extras made up.

I’ve been holding back posters for The Playground, featuring Lisa, for months. I’ll try to publish it sometime in late Winter of 2016.

I also had Sean make up some paper dolls of Lisa, simply because it’s hard for an ebook only author to hand out swag. The post announcing the paper dolls, and the page where they permanently reside were two of my most popular posts for 2015.

My intention was always to make this blog into ground zero for my self publishing efforts. That remains my intent. If you want to reach me, this is the best way unless I’ve given you my email address.

My growth rate for Entertaining Stories has always been slow, despite posting about five times per week. I simply accept it for what it is, and keep forging ahead. I seem to attract the kind of people who interact, and support my projects when I need them to, and I’m eternally grateful for that.

Part of the job involves supporting others when they need it. I’ve made my blog available for others, and some of those posts were very popular this year. Mae Clair recently pushed into my top ten posts of all time, so my readers appreciate meeting guests.

I’ve learned a bit about being a good host, and being a good guest. Being a good guest involves delivering what the host asks for. Many of my guest spots were custom written based upon the host’s request. Some of them were by Lisa, two were by Lorelei the Muse, and one asked me to bring the raven of doubt along. Aside from those character posts, I also appeared on various blog as myself this year.

Being a good guest also involves surfing back through the host site and participating in the comments. When someone responds directly to the host, it’s still okay to hit the like button. Many times they leave a comment for me, and I try to respond to every one of them. My habit is to return for three consecutive days.

Serving as a host is also important. A popular guest can drive blog traffic the other direction, and I gained followers by hosting others. It is expected for a host to write an intro, and even a final word to go along with the guest spot. If you’ve read and enjoyed someone’s book, it’s nice to say so before handing it over to the guest. It’s also important to set the site up to allow visitors to comment.

I appeared on two sites this year where I had to enter my email address, then manipulate a Captcha before I could answer a comment. I was lucky to even get the comment if that’s what the visitor had to go through.

I stepped up my game when it comes to re-blogging information my readers might like. One of the things I do is try to re-blog the source material. I’ve tried to read something that turned out to be a re-blog, then discover it links to another blogger who re-blogged the content. People aren’t going to go through all of that to read the source material. Re-blog maybe, re-re-blog never.

I try to keep Entertaining Stories looking fresh. I’m really going to miss the frozen hand, and the electronic snow falling across it looked great. I’m on the lookout for some good wallpaper for next month.

I didn’t even know what a “street team” was the first time I tried one. I’m a big believer in the power of a street team now. I’ll put out a call for The Playground soon, and try to get a team assembled for its release. It worked quite well for Will O’ the Wisp, and Experimental Notebook.

Some of the popular things (beyond Lisa the robot girl) were my party stop for the Rave Reviews Book Club, Macabre Macaroni, and The Idea Mill posts. It seems like a good idea to keep doing some of that in 2016.

My membership in the Rave Reviews Book Club continues to provide dividends. I became member of the week this fall, and got invited to appear on Blog Talk Radio. My Experimental Notebook was a President’s Pick.They support my efforts on Twitter, and that really helps too.

2015 turned out to be a good year. My sales increased, I made new friends, and I expanded my footprint. I plan on 2016 being even better, but that is a different post.


Filed under Blogging

Will O’ the Wisp

Amazon came through, and it appears to have worked without a problem. This post will include links. I’ve been talking about this story for quite some time, and it’s time to let you know what it’s all about.

A Will O’ the Wisp is a rare natural phenomonon. Scientist aren’t entirely sure what it is, but the prevailing belief is it may be a fourth stage of matter called plasma. It produces a glowing light that seems to move around. It is most frequently seen over wetlands and bogs, but has been seen over old cemeteries too. The wisp may also appear around fault lines, and some believe this is cause by friction.

Wisps have been seen all over the world, and are getting scarce. As humans fill in wetlands, and relocate old cemeteries they are spotted less frequently.

As you might imagine, the wisps have legends from every culture on Earth. I simply took the legends and ran with it. You didn’t really expect a geology story from me, did you?

Patty Hall is a fifteen year old girl who wears corrective leg braces. This was a relatively common situation in the 1970s when the story takes place. I was around and everyone knew at least one kid who had to endure these. Patty likes stargazing, is enamored with the space program, and is into science fiction. It is while stargazing one night that she first comes across the Will O’ the Wisp.

I don’t want to put out too many spoilers, but the wisp has been targeting Patty’s family for generations. If she doesn’t figure something out soon her next stop is the local cemetery.

I think this is the best thing I’ve ever written and I would appreciate it if you’d check it out. There are two different versions published. I wanted to acknowledge that teenagers love their music. It’s a natural thing for them. I always have a couple of personal challenges in each story, and one was to learn about Copyright and obtain a license to quote some lyrics. I was moderately successful, but could only obtain the license for North America. Therefore; one link for the USA, Canada, and Mexico. The other link is for the rest of the world.

I tried my universal link thingie, and these links should take you to the proper store. If anyone has any problems, please let me know.

Northern American Continent link http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UPH6BNS

Rest of the world link http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UQNDT2C

My other challenge was to write something in first person point of view. I’ve never done it, and it was a fun experience. Of course I chose the POV of a fifteen year old girl. Why make it easy and use a grouchy old man? My rule was if Patty cannot see it, smell it, or read it, it didn’t get into the book. It was challenging, and you’ll have to let me know how I did.

I learned a new term last week, street team. Without knowing it, I used a street team to help with my promotions. A group of wonderful people agreed to read an advance copy and help me out. I won’t embarrass anyone by calling out names, but I am eternally grateful to these wonderful people. I also know that I’m getting honest reviews from these folks and they won’t cut me any slack if I made a mistake.

I’m also indebted to my street team, and if they ever need me on their team, I would be honored.

I still have a lot to do, including figuring out how to use the sidebar with two different links. I hope I don’t have to add the cover twice.

Remember, early sales really help, and the lending library is an option too. There is a link in my sidebar where you can get a free reading app if you need one.


Filed under Writing