Friday, September 30, 2016

Way too much . . .

     Well, I've neglected my blog again. As is customary after neglecting my blog comes the post explaining why I neglected it and how I'm going to get back on track again. For some reason, I can't get back into blogging until I write this post. I guess it's like hitting the reset button.

     Wow. So, my last post was early September, which may be a new record for me as far as neglecting my blog goes. I'm sorry, loyal readers!

     Since July, I changed my writing "system", for lack of a better word. I began publishing my serial "City of Secrets" weekly, and while trying to keep up with that, I was also working on "New Year's Revolution." All while trying to keep up on my blog, which I was actually managing for a while. Also, I was spending a lot of time looking for freelance writing jobs which took up about an hour a day, though I'm setting this venture aside for now. All while reading research books for my literary mystery (the novel I wrote for NANO last year) which may be titled Broken Minds. Still not sure on this though. I have about titles four I like.

     Then came my first major writer's conference in early September. That was awesome, and there will be more about that in a later post. The conference took up a lot of time and energy. I'm also dealing with my ongoing injury/worker's comp case, which has been stressful and time consuming. Along with various other things, my stress level has been through the roof. Something had to give. Which meant the blog got pushed to the back burner.

     Things have calmed down a little, so I'm trying to balance my many writing ventures again, though with a few changes. Unfortunately, choosing to publish my serial weekly might have been biting off more than I can chew, but for the time being I'd like to see if I can make it work, while still working on my other novels. I really don't want to switch to a bi-weekly schedule, because the story is so long that it will never finish if I do it that way, but we'll see. I'm hoping that maybe now that I actually know how much work is involved, I'll be able to balance it better. Fingers crossed.

     Anyway, I'm back! You can look forward to more posts soon. Promise!

     If you haven't checked out my YA Paranormal Mystery "City of Secrets" yet, you totally should. It's free to read, and my friends tell me it's really good. ;-) Here's a convenient link for you. :-)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Clicking, Commenting, and Creating Celebrities

"City of Secrets" has been up on JukePop serials for about six weeks now. It's going pretty good so far. Unfortunately, it hasn't gone viral. The entire world is not talking about it. I haven't been hit up by agents and movie people and television guys or whatever. It's not the greatest thing since sliced bread. (Is that really the greatest thing, by the way? Why aren't cars, or airplanes, or modern medicine the greatest thing? Are we really so lazy about slicing bread that we have an entire saying about how great sliced bread is?) Not that I was really expecting any of these things to happen. But everyone dreams big. You have to, right?

My friends and family have been great. First, my wonderful writer's group who devoured and critiqued the monster first draft are happily devouring the web version (which will also be a monster) and giving me plus votes. Thanks guys. I've got some Facebook friends reading it, and my boyfriend (who for some reason doesn't read fiction) is reading it. Thanks, honey. I've even got aunts and uncles who hardly understand the Internet checking it out. Thanks. 

The greatest problem has been advertising it. It's been really hard to get traffic to my story. I've been on Twitter for over a year and have 2000+ followers, so this shouldn't be that big of a problem, yet it is. There are various sites designed to specifically advertise web fiction for free, which I've been using, but I don't think I've gotten a lot of readers from them. Most of my readers came from real life word-of-mouth and from interacting with other authors on JukePop. 

I've been bothered by the realization that few people on Twitter and Facebook click on external links. I think I already knew this to some extent since I've been sharing my blog, but I really figured it out once I started advertising my story. I get lots of retweets, which are great and I appreciate them, but they aren't enough. I think only a couple of people actually click on the links to blogs and stories.

I've been trying to figure out why this is. I haven't done extensive research or anything, so I'm just going to toss out a few of the thoughts I've come up with. 

I've only been using Twitter for a little over a year, and Facebook as an author platform for a few months, so I don't know if they used to work better for advertising, but I have a feeling that they might have. I'm thinking that maybe when Twitter first got going it was a great way to advertise, but then so many people started doing it, that people just got sick of it. I get that. I'm a little sick of certain kinds of advertising too. 

An obvious reason is that some people are very aggressive in their efforts, and are very insincere about it. I ignore those people too. Advertising is all they do. You follow them, and they tell you to like their FB page without even saying hi. No. That's not cool. You have to interact with people. You have to assist them in their advertising efforts as much as your own. I talk to a lot of people, and I'm not aggressive or excessive in my efforts. Yet I get only retweets. (Again, not complaining. Retweets are great, but they only go so far.)

Okay, so is it because when people are on Twitter they want to stay on Twitter? When on FB they want to stay on FB? Maybe they don't want to click on a link to be redirected to a blog or a story. Part of me says yes, another part of me says no. People hop on social media to read articles all the time, so this doesn't completely add up. Are they only reading professional articles, and not personal blogs/stories? Or are they clicking on blogs and just not commenting? My blog tracks how many views I get, so there might be some truth to that. 

The lack of comments is another thing that bothers me. I get views on my blog, but very few comments. Sometimes I'll get comments on the FB or Twitter link, but not the blog page. It would help me a lot more if they were on the blog post itself. If people see comments, the more likely they are to comment. That's just how we work. I'm guessing part of the reason people don't comment is that you have to put in your email, and not everyone wants to do that. It's the reason why I don't always comment on other people's blogs. But then I thought, does it really matter at this point? I've got a FB, Twitter, Instagram, tumblr, a bunch of emails, and random other accounts. Really, does one more matter? 

So, I don't know how to help myself. (Actually, I do have an idea, but I'm super, crazy busy right now, so I won't be putting this idea into action for about a month.) So, while I don't know how to get people to click my links, comment on my stuff, and like my Facebook page, I do know how to do this for other people, so that's what I've started to do. If I can't help myself, I might as well help other aspiring authors. Readers, you should start liking author FB pages, clicking a web serial or blog link from time to time, and even leaving a comment. Let's help each other out. 

And, speaking of, (yeah, of course this post was going to end with a link to my story), you should check out my web serial, "City of Secrets." It's free to read, and new chapters come out weekly (for the most part) on Tuesdays.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Our Pets Are Our Children

Raise your hand if your pet is like your child (my hand is up). Raise your hand if you know someone whose pet is like their child (my other hand is up). Okay, good. Lots of hands. Now that I have your attention, you can put them down.

While my cat is my buddy and I go a little crazy over him sometimes, I'm not here to talk about my cat. I want to talk about my good friend's cat, Merlin (that's the cat's name, not my friend's name. That would be weird).

I met Merlin several years ago when I became roommates with his owner. I got along with Merlin great. It took my cat a little bit longer to warm to him, though they eventually accepted one another--sort of. Merlin is a big fluff ball. He's one of those cats you go to pet, and you're like, "Where's the cat? All I feel is fur." Merlin is quiet and sweet and likes everyone. He does that thing that a few cats do where they sit with their tongue out; it's very cute. Merlin spent a lot of time in my room, which was slightly weird because of his relationship with my cat. Because Merlin is a fluff ball, he sheds a lot. When my roommate moved out, there were tufts of Merlin fur everywhere. I joked that maybe Merlin was a species of alien cat that was trying to take over the world via fur, and the little balls of fur would turn into tiny Merlins.

Sadly, this is not the case. The balls of fur were just regular balls of fur, and Merlin is a regular Earth kitty with no alien super powers. This means that when Merlin has health problems, he needs Earth veterinarians to help him. Earth veterinarians need money. You've probably guessed by now that this is going to a sad place.

Merlin has a serious condition, and may need a serious operation to fix it. I'm not going to go into details here, because I don't want to make anyone do redundant reading. Merlin's owner/Mom has set up a gofundme to try and raise money to help him. There you will find all the details about his condition. If there's anything you can do to help, that would be really, really awesome. If you can't donate, please share and help get the word out. Thanks.