Friday, April 18, 2014

Catching Up and Spunky the Cat Update

First, thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for featuring me on Thursday. That was a big surprise.

I didn’t post on Monday due to a project I was working on. I knew I wouldn’t be able to visit other bloggers if I did, so I thought it was easier to just skip the day. I appreciate everyone who went back and commented on my comments post. The “Great post!” ones cracked me up.

I’m not participating in the Challenge here this year, but I am contributing to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group website. The posts are short and sweet, designed to encourage and inform. We also invite you to share your own A to Z posts over at the Facebook IWSG.

I’ll be back here on Monday. In the meantime, I’ll give you an update on Spunky. He had surgery the first week of February to remove a cancerous tumor. Twenty-two staples, three weeks with a cone, and six weeks in a crate to contain his activity. Longest six weeks of our life!

The cancer is in his bones, so it will take him eventually. But for now, we are glad he can be with us a little longer.

One of his nicknames is Captain Fuzzy Pants. When he came home from his surgery, I said he was missing half his pants:

But now I am happy to report, he is Captain Fuzzy Pants once more!

I’ll end with a photo of our handsome boy:

Monday, April 07, 2014

How to Comment on Blogs

With the A to Z Challenge in progress, I thought this would be a timely topic.

We all love blog comments. They acknowledge our efforts and make us feel worthy as a person. A comment means we evoked a response. And while blogging isn’t a popularity contest, lots of unique comments also means we have a lot of friends.

What is proper etiquette when it comes to leaving a comment?

1 - Demonstrate that you read the post.

Sometimes we don’t mind “Great post,” but that really doesn’t tell us anything. A comment should reflect on something the person wrote.

With book announcements, “Congratulations” or “Sounds like a great book” work, although it would be better to say a little more. But comments like that on a guest post are shallow. “I hope you sell a million books” sounds nice, but if the person wrote about a topic, a comment should reflect the content.

Cutesy comments on one word or the title also don’t say anything.

Commenting about something else entirely isn’t polite either.

2- Avoid a major argument.

Sometimes a blogger tosses out a controversial topic and invites strong opinions. it’s okay to get involved in the discussion with an opposing position, just remember to keep it civil. Visiting someone’s blog is like visiting someone’s house - remember your manners.

If the person isn’t inviting a discussion, just stating an opinion, don’t rain on his or her parade. It might be something held dear to that person. Maybe it’s his or her dream. Don’t be a sourpuss. If that person loves a book you hated, just politely say “Sorry, I just couldn’t get into it.”

Don’t get into a flame war with other commenters, either.

If it’s a subject that you just can’t say something positive about, remember the old saying - “If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

3 - Comment because you want to comment.

Commenting just to get people to return the favor is selfish. Comment because you care about the topic or you care about the person.

At the same time, returning comments is just good manners. Try to find something nice to say. If it’s a topic way out in left field or offends you, it’s okay to walk away though.

4 - Don't comment just to promote.

It's okay to have a link in your comment, but not a blatant, obnoxious promotion.

The comment itself shouldn't be all promo.. Don't comment just so you can tell that person about your book, product, service. etc. Unless it directly relates to the post, just don't do it.

Those are the basic guidelines. What else would you add?

Good luck to everyone participating in the A to Z Challenge!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, hosted by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

I have a special project I’m working on this month. It doesn’t involve writing, but it does involve creativity. It’s one of many in April.

I work on a lot of projects that involve the efforts of other writers. It’s both rewarding and scary. I get to try new things and help other authors achieve their dream, but there’s also a lot of pressure on me because I’m partially responsible for their success or failure.

I worry more when it’s someone else’s material than my own. How do you guys feel?

Don’t forget the A to Z Challenge posts at the IWSG website designed to encourage and inform.

We also invite you to share your own A to Z posts over at the Facebook IWSG.
A thread will be started for the "letter of the day" and we'd LOVE you to share your A to Z post links in the thread .
Example: on April 01st a thread for the letter A will be posted; on April 02nd a thread for the letter B will be posted and so on (Sundays are excluded)
Please do not post any A to Z challenge blog links outside of the provided thread. Remember: these everyday links (26 in total) ONLY apply to the annual A to Z challenge, which takes place during the month of April.

We also set the official IWSG Facebook Guidelines:
1. Since the focus of IWSG is support, the Facebook page should reflect this ideal.
2. You are encouraged to support your fellow IWSG'ers who share their writerly-related experiences, which include accomplishments/disappointments/challenges, with the rest of the group. Keep in mind that writers are at different points of their respective writerly journeys. Some lurk for a long time, before finding the courage to share with the rest of the group. Since the IWSG is all about community, a word of encouragement or advice may be just what somebody needs. Or even just a smiley face/thumbs up...
3. News & Promotional Saturday is your opportunity to add a link. The IWSG administrators reserve the right to remove promotional links, especially if they are posted haphazardly.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Reflections and Moving Forward - Analyzing a Book Launch by Stephen Tremp

As I was working with my editor in the months leading up to the release of Escalation: The Adventures of Chase Manhattan, I needed to also devise how I would market my book. I decided to have two plans, each with a different way of promoting. Plan A and Plan B.

Plan A: The Quick Strike: I had a number of large target audiences and I would try to get most of the downloads the first week. Get that huge spike in sales. Rise to the top of one or more categories on the Amazon Best Sellers List such as mystery, action, adventure, or SciFi. The result would be sales and bragging rights as an Amazon Best Seller. The downside: a faster decline in sales after a few weeks.

Plan B: More Consistent Sales: A steady curve upward and lasting over time rather than the quick spike. I might not have that “Amazon Best Seller” in a particular category, but that’s okay. I would still sell a lot of copies, just over a longer period of time.
It became clear right away Plan A would not happen. I used what worked so well for me for Breakthrough and Opening; social media. But for whatever reasons, I never got that huge surge of sales this time around. The Escalation Blog Tour, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and LinkedIn failed to sell 100 books. This is strange as I’ve had well over 10,000 in sales and downloads of Breakthrough and Opening.

What, Me Worry? Going into this I understood I would need to move in another direction. What worked then will probably not be enough to work now. However, I am very much surprised I did so poorly the first few weeks using social media.
But I know I have something really good with my completed trilogy. And Plan B has a lot of open doors. However, they will take place throughout the rest of this year rather than happen in an all out quick social media blitz.

Bookstores: I’ve had my first two books in Barnes & Noble and Borders Books across the country. I’ve done dozens of book signings and living in southern California met hundreds of tourists from all over the world. But that ship has sailed. I no longer have this luxury or this exposure. However, I will be doing book signings at Indie bookstores in Los Angeles and Hollywood.
And I do have some things in the works regarding a movie as there are people in the business more than intrigued with my story. I also have some other stuff planned that will reach thousands of people across the globe. Stay tuned.

Moving Forward: Hey, I have a complete trilogy. This does give me a bit of clout and momentum. And I live in the entertainment capital of the world and southern California attracts tourists from all over the world. I’m actually selling a lot of physical books up and down the beach to tourists and locals. Once Escalation is in print next month, I’ll have one more book to sell.
I also have a couple really cool and kind of creepy novellas I’m working on. For these I’ll seek out a small publisher. Then I’ll come back to more adventures of Chase Manhattan.
Well, that’s all for now. Thanks to everyone who has helped and supported me along this wild and crazy journey. I could not have done this without you. And thank you Diane for hosting me! The future is indeed looking bright. I just need to move beyond social media.

Stephen Tremp is the author of the Breakthrough series. Together, Breakthrough, Opening, and Escalation follow the lives of the unlikely participants from innocence to a coming of age through sacrifice, betrayal, passion, lust, unconditional love, and hope. Escalation will appeal to fans of modern-day science fiction, paranormal, action, horror, and even romance.

Stop by Stephen’s Blog for more information on the Breakthrough series.

And to download Escalation: The Adventures of Chase Manhattan CLICK HERE.