Marketing: Amazon

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Hey Space Cadets, today I want to again look at marketing – trying to see through the weeds.  This will be the last blog I have on this series for a while.  However, I make no promises that I won’t come back to it.  This week we are going to look at Amazon.  While I am no expert – this is where I am selling my books.  So on to today’s adventure. Continue reading

Marketing: Mailing Lists

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Hey Space Cadets, time for another article in my Marketing series.  Today I wanted to tackle Mailing Lists, yet another aspect of marketing. Now, quit your groaning – you might learn something.  Even better, someone may make a comment that will teach me something!  I am always learning new things.  Anyway, I digress, on to today’s subject.  Remember, I’m no expert so this is just what I’m doing and it seems to be working for the moment.  As things change, I’ll adapt which is a major key to success in many of life’s adventures.

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Marketing: Social Media

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J R Handley

Hey Space Cadets, yet another blog about marketing.  I can hear your collective groans and mutters of not more from here, but hear me out.  Let’s jump into the deep end and learn to swim together.  Remember, I’m no expert so this is just what I’m doing and it seems to be working for the moment.  As things change, I’ll adapt which is a major key to success in many of life’s adventures.

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Marketing: Blogs

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J R HandleyHey Space Cadets, another installment of my marketing series.  I know this is the administrative background work we have to do – it is still important, so bear with me.  Take your fingers out of your ears and settle down, it’s not that boring.  Today’s subject is Blogs.  Again, I’m no expert so this is just what I’m doing that seems to be working for the moment.  As things change, I’ll adapt which is a major key to success in many of life’s adventures.

 

JR Handley Blog HeaderMy Blog is one of the main aspects of my marketing strategy.  I won’t bother linking to it, since you are reading it which means you are already there.  I know I hyperlink more than conventional wisdom says is necessary, but when it seems appropriate I link away!  I’m probably a little neurotic on the topic, but hey, they say acceptance is the first step to recovery!  This blog serves as my author platform, right next to my public Facebook account.  In a broadly general sense, this blog is a marketing enterprise.  I won’t continually shout, “buy my book, buy my book,” like some authors are wont to do, but I don’t hide that I’m an author either.  I have a link to my books at the bottom of all my pages.  I try to keep my other links on topic and of interest to my readers.  I try to have useful content on my blogs using hyperlinks as appropriate.  There is a fine line here between hyperlink and hyper-annoying that I try not to cross.  I am not trying to spam my readers; I am trying to sell my books.

Due to my limitations, my process is unique, but every blog I post goes through my team. They look for more than just grammar, also considering the broader concept of ‘branding.’  Basically, branding is who you are to the world. It needs to be consistent, and authentic.  I want to my blog to brand me as a science fiction writer people want to read.  Therefore, I keep this in mind when I plan the posts for my blog.

Hubble Space Picture The theme of your blog is very important.  Both the general theme or look of your blog and the theme of the contact of the blog.  First, let’s look at the general theme of the blog.  When I started my blog, its sole purpose was to simply exist.  I had more generic posts, some of it appealing to the deep well that is the WordPress author community.  I’ll admit I also participated in the ‘I follow you, you follow me’ gimmick because I didn’t know any better.  Ultimately, if you want your blog to serve a purpose, following others so they will follow you serves no purpose.  What will help is themed blog. The theme will be broadly based on the genre in which you write. There are many ways to do this, both visual and content driven. My blog starts with the intro of “Hey, Space Cadets,” which harkens back to the earlier Heinlein book with the same name.  It screams to the world, “I’m a science fiction blog.” I do this intentionally, but didn’t violate my rule of authenticity because I do love science fiction. If I didn’t love it, I couldn’t write it. Following with the theme for my blog, I end everyone with “Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry.”  Again, this was to intentionally call back to America’s earliest military history and Rogers Rangers.  The US Army Rangers claim this as their origin story, but it’s also something I heard throughout my time in the infantry and the military writ large.  It reminds the reader that one of my sub genres is military science fiction. It also reminds them that I have some credibility with that genre because of my affiliation with the US Army.  I was a Sergeant in the US Army.  When you pick your theme, it should reflect who you are and what you write. Part of that old adage, know your audience.

The Legion AwakesThe second type of theme is the theme/subject you’re discussing in a specific blog.  The general theme branded me as a military science fiction author.  While I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about it, bear with me awhile longer.  My general theme includes several factors; the visual look, as well as the header and footer.  The content of my blog – information I choose to share – has a theme of its own.  I’ve intentionally avoided politics because it’s an unnecessarily divisive issue – personally I don’t want to unintentionally alienate customers due to my political views.  My purpose here is to sell books and I try to remember this. Let’s face it, you need to be a mercenary when you think about your marketing strategy.  For me, I do this by putting on my reader’s hat, considering what I look for from an author, what information I like versus what turns me off.  I try to keep the subject of my posts related to my writing.  Sometimes those decisions are unconscious, I’ve admittedly been known to follow my massive gut, but strategic nonetheless. I have several series I have started such as, World Building Wednesday; Scyfi Shenanigans; and Warrior Weekend; among others.  I try to keep my topics entertaining – but the purpose of my posts is to generate interest in my world.  This is tricky, since I have the “curse of knowledge.”  I need draw my readers in without spoiling the adventure in my books.  As I finish The Sleeping Legion and start writing new books, my blogs will evolve.  My methodology has been to give the first hit for free to reel the readers in. Sorry, I have watched to many Cop shows – I blame my parents.  Anyway, I hope you get the general idea here and can translate it into what might work for you and your book babies.

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry.

brown_bess

JR

–>As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are videos used by JR Handley for use under fair doctrine.

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Warrior Weekend Interview Series

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Hello Space Cadets, like I mentioned yesterday I didn’t plan ahead well enough for an interview series.  I am working on playing catch-up, but let me tell you about what I envision with this.  If you missed it, I’m a combat veteran of the Late Unpleasantness in Mesopotamia.  It changed me, my world view, and the content of the stories I tell.  I’m curious how other veterans in the writing world (authors, editors, publishers, etc.) manage it.  How does it affect their process?

 

One thing that has always been important to me is to support other veterans, so this is my chance to pay it forward.  It is my thanks to the thousands who manned the lines with me.  It introduces them to the world, and lets us reminisce for a few on our shared experiences.  I hope you find this worthwhile, but on top of their military service (for any country), they are readers and writers just like us.  Maybe together we can learn from each other.

 

Since I don’t have any larger post planned for today, I wanted to recommend a book.  When I got back from Iraq my brain injury made reading difficult.  I couldn’t concentrate, the words blurred and I gave up.  Even the large print books weren’t cutting it.  I’d given up, and was listening to my neurologist lecture me again about exercising my mind when he decided to find a solution for me.  If you don’t know, your brain is like any other muscle.  If you don’t use it, you lose it.  When you suffer head injuries, the potential for the loss of said muscle down the line grows exponentially.  To combat that, they recommend brain teasers and the like, in addition to reading a lot.  After much nagging, I set a routine, I wake up and do a Sudoku or crossword puzzle with my morning coffee. 

 

My doctor wasn’t satisfied with a few minutes of mind games so he did some research about an amazing new technology called a Kindle.  It has a few neat features; backlighting, magnification and could read the book to you when you needed a break.  I was convinced, my parents ponied up the cash (gotta love supportive mothers) and I was off to the races.  I started with all of the free books available and narrowed down my searches to science fiction and fantasy.  I’m a huge fan of military science fiction and space opera, always have been since I found an old copy of Heinlein’s Starship Trooper in my local library.  It was old, battered and tucked into the back shelf.  I figured if it was good enough for someone to hide it, making sure it was there for them, I had to read it too.  Since then there have been many other good stories, jaunts through space and the like.  Now armed with a Kindle, I sought out books that fit into that genre.

 

The first successful Kindle search I made from within the device lead me to Terry Mixon and his Empire of Bones Saga.  It was great, made even better by the fact that Terry was an Army guy like me.  Let’s face it, a lot of the military veterans writing science fiction are Navy guys.  They figure SPACE ship, OCEAN going ship…. They’re all ships!  I honestly gave him a chance just because he was from the 101st Airborne too.  I wasn’t disappointed and you won’t be either.  Go check it out!

 

Empire of Bones (Book 1 of The Empire of Bones Saga) by [Mixon, Terry]

 

Finally, I’ll recommend a short story by my boss and science fiction author Tim C. Taylor!  Welcome Home, Janissary is set in the universe I’m writing in, and it is definitely worth a read!  It’s currently free, so you’ll get your money’s worth!!

 Welcome Home, Janissary by [Taylor, Tim C.]

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

brown_bess

JR

–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.

Blog & Writing Update

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Hello Space Cadets!!  In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting articles about the various parts of my writing process.  I plan on covering alien creation, foreign languages and character creation.  In addition, I’ll write about how I ‘invent’ new technologies and where I conduct my research.  There will be posts about resources I use, and mentors I’ve been lucky enough to have.  Now that my website is wrapping up, it is time to do all of the prep work for a smooth transition into my blog schedule.  I look forward to bringing you with me on this journey, and can’t wait to read your comments in the forthcoming posts. 

 

Now, as for a quick NaNoWriMo update!  I’ve been sucking it recently, life has been crazy and I’m way behind.  With two special needs kids, you just have to seize life by the… and carry on.  I grab words where I can and attend my local Hampton Roads NaNo Group’s Friday write-ins to catch up.  Yesterday I managed to crank out 900 words while I was there, not bad since I am working on a crappy laptop that isn’t comfortable for my sore hands.  This has convinced me to double down on my goals of learning to better use my Dragon software and lighten the load on my hands.  So, now that we’ve gotten here…. It is time for my word weigh-in and the judgement that will surely follow.  It is Day 12 and I’m sitting at 13,052 words.  I hope to finish the day at 17,000 words but that might just be a pipe dream.  I still have to take my son out clothes shopping, he’s outgrown everything he owns.  Ugh, not only is he EATING me out of house and home, now he’s growing like a weed.

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

 brown_bess

JR

—> As usual, the image I used today can be found under Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.

AMERICA’S TOP SECRET WAR: Atropia

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Hello Space Cadets, I wanted to bring you some updates. First, let me update you on my progress in the Great Quest known as NaNoWriMo.  I am currently 11,062 words into Operation Breakout, the third novel in my Sleeping Legion series.  This is a lot farther behind than I would like, but I’m trying not to psych myself up and get in my own way.  According to the scheduled, I should hit 15,000 words today.  I got a late start because I was wrapping up my last novel and getting my editing done.  What can I say, the editor Corey is a slave driver!  I finished my outline for my current project and got it tentatively approved by my publisher Tim C. Taylor on Day 4.  Hey, if your Supreme High Overlord isn’t happy, aint nobody happy!  Since that approval was granted I’ve been writing full bore in a race to the finish line.  Yesterday I wrote 2,416 words and if I can do that for four days I’ll be back where I need to be.  However, over the next two days I’ll again be knee deep into Fortress Beta City for my final editing pass before it goes to a copy editor and is published.

 

While most people are participating in NaNo so they can finish a novel, or to motivate them to just write, I’m searching for something else.  I’m searching for a technique which helps me achieve balance between writing, blogging, family time, exercising and that albatross authors simply call marketing.  Realistically, if I can hit that 2k words a day, I’ll be on pace to become the next big pulp writer of my generation cranking out 5 to 6 books a year!  And maybe, someday, I can roll around in piles of money like the Scrooge McDuck version of JK Rowling!

 

All of this has forced me to rig for silent running, hunker down and pound out words.  I’ve failed, as I couldn’t go cold turkey on the social aspect of writing.  See, told you I needed NaNo!!  But that wasn’t the only reason I’ve been less visible.  (looks around nervously)  I’ve also been silent because I’ve been dealing with Army life again.  Yes, my fat and broken body was recalled to fight in the Army’s top secret war against the dictatorial regime of the Donovian Militants.  Atropia was being invaded and the US Army has been stretched thin with our decade long campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and more recently bolstering South Korea against the aggressive posturing of The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

 

This left the US Army with a critical manpower shortage, without a draft to re-fill the ranks.  Their solution, recall those who were listed in the IRR (Inactive Ready Reserves).  Basically, we’re calling up the broke dicks and grey beards.  Rest assured, we were resolute in our resolve to defend the Atropians against the evil Donovian Militants, who sought to take advantage of our national distraction in the Middle East.  In a campaign, reminiscent of the short war in Panama known as Operation Just Cause, the enemy was repelled and stability returned to the region.

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Now that I can again return to the tranquil comforts of home and hearth, I shall endeavor to get back up on the writing horse.  Wish me words as I fight the evil muse for every sentence!  But rest easy, we got this!

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

Image result for muskets 

JR

 

—> As usual, the two images I used today can be found under Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.