Latest: Lotus

Feedback Fraught with Fear, False Findings, Fruitlessness

I know well the desire to have approval, the boost we get from a genuine compliment.

I also know that asking others for feedback when what we really want is a pat on the head is fraught with peril, asking for trouble, bending over and begging to be kicked.

Some general thoughts and specific comments on feedback:

Continue reading “Feedback Fraught with Fear, False Findings, Fruitlessness”


This Story is Beneath You

A confused fan searches for one of my books
Almost two years ago I started my 6th novel. Plotting and planning, then writing like mad. Research, plot adjustments, pondering, and more writing like mad.

Somewhere along the way, it crashed.

More precisely, I crashed.

Flashback to Success

On November 11th of 2011 I released 6 books simultaneously. (11/11/11, get it?) In the previous 6 months I’d written (or compiled) 4 books and co-authored 2 more, all books about business philosophy and process.

I switched to fiction. Finally followed up my first Irish adventure novel with a second, then started another series, and a third.

It was like driving a Lamborghini steamroller.

Then, I got some professional advice.

Continue reading “This Story is Beneath You”


9 Ways Your Fans Can Support You

My wife Sue provides social media marketing services for authors. I am, of course, her most important client. I’ve asked her to share some of her checklists and tools with you. We’d both love to hear if this type of information is helpful.—Joel

Sue L Canfield
When your fans share your writing with others it carries more social proof than your own marketing efforts because it comes from a third party. Make it easy for them. Real fans are glad to help.

Do you have all the following in place so your fans are connected with you and sharing your posts with their friends?

  1. Connect with your fans on the following social media platforms.
  2. Ask your fans to share your social media posts by doing the following.
    • Retweet something you shared on Twitter.
    • Share a post from your Facebook Author page on their own Facebook timeline.
    • Repin something from one of your Pinterest boards.
    • Share one of your status updates on LinkedIn.
    • Comment on one of your Instagram posts.
    • On Goodreads, recommend one of your books to your friends.
  3. Ask fans to sign up for your newsletter.
  4. Ask fans to share the link to sign up for your newsletter.
  5. Ask fans to subscribe to your blog and to comment at the blog. Write a blog post about how they can support you. (See Joel’s at his author website)
  6. Directly ask them to buy your books.
  7. Encourage fans to buy a copy of one of your books for a friend who they think will enjoy it.
  8. Ask fans to review your books on Amazon.
  9. Let fans know you’d love to hear from them and to send you an email.

Let your fans know that supportive things like reviews at Amazon, comments at the blog, enthusiastic shares on social media and even personal emails help make you enthusiastic about continuing to write.

Author Bio:
Sue L Canfield has been working with social media since 2005. She blogs regularly about how to use social media and consults on best social media practices at Chief Virtual Officer. She specializes in helping authors create and maintain their online presence. She currently manages a team of four social media account managers and over a dozen social media clients.


9 Ways You Can Help Support My Husband the Author

Sue L Canfield
Sue L Canfield
Because I’m not only Joel’s biggest fan but also his social media marketing manager, he asked me to share a few ways that you, his other fans, can support him as an author.

  1. Connect with Joel on the following social media platforms.
  1. Share Joel’s social media posts.
  • Retweet something shared on Twitter.
  • Share a post from Joel’s Facebook Author page on your Facebook timeline.
  • Repin something from one of Joel’s Pinterest boards.
  • Share one of Joel’s status updates on LinkedIn.
  1. Sign up for Joel’s monthly newsletter. Joel sends out a monthly newsletter about his mysteries the middle of each month. It’s the first place you’ll hear about his new books, even before they are published. It always includes links to his previous blog posts which are often short book excerpts. Anyone who signs up for the newsletter gets two free books. One is the first Phil Brennan book, A Long, Hard Look, (which, though each book stands alone, you might want to read before the second Phil Brennan book, A Still, Small Voice, comes out in December.) The other free book, since Joel forgot to remove the download for it and he’ll probably never get around to it, is Through the Fog, an Irish Mystery.
  1. Share the link to sign up for the newsletter. Remember, if you recommend the newsletter to a friend, you’re essentially giving them two free books!
  1. Subscribe to Joel’s blog. You’ll see at the blog in the left sidebar where to subscribe – it says Get new posts by email. Just put in your email address and never miss another blog post. Don’t forget to comment at the blog as well.
  1. Buy Joel’s books. You can find them at his website here and on Amazon.
  1. Buy a copy of one of Joel’s books for a friend who you think will enjoy it but hasn’t yet discovered his books.
  1. Review Joel’s books on Amazon. If you’ve read any of Joel’s books, please provide an honest review at Amazon.
  1. Send Joel an email. He loves to hear from his fans. Whether you want to provide feedback, ask a question, share how you supported him, or anything else, Joel would love to hear from you! His email is Joel@JoelDCanfield.com

Because authors are emotional creatures, and I know from experience this is especially true of Joel, supportive things like reviews at Amazon, comments at the blog, enthusiastic shares on social media and even personal emails help make an author enthusiastic about continuing to write. [And easier to live with.—jdc]


And the Winner Is . . . (What I’m Writing Next)

ocean-fenceIn my latest newsletter I asked for input about which of these works in progress should get my attention after I finish A Still, Small Voice and Jake Calcutta and the Temporal Lisle. (If you want in on stuff like this, sign up for my newsletter.)

  1. The 3rd Irish adventure — From the Fog (follows Through the Fog and Into the Fog)
  2. A 3rd Phil Brennan mystery — A Short, Sharp Shock (follows A Long, Hard Look and A Still, Small Voice [not yet published])
  3. More scifi/adventure — another Jake Calcutta (follows Jake Calcutta and the Temporal Lisle [not yet published])
  4. More Jesse Donovan (follows That She Is Made of Truth)
  5. The Village Id — a witty cozy mystery set in a small English village filled with quirky characters; very P. G. Wodehouse. Check out the 1st chapter.
  6. Coming of age story — a young teen’s life is disrupted when his family has to move in with relatives; he turns to music for comfort
  7. Anacrusis (a mystery with a female lead) — A woman dumps her unfaithful fiancee and moves to a small town where two men amorously pursue her, while one of them awaits the life insurance payoff from the first wife he murdered.

Continue reading “And the Winner Is . . . (What I’m Writing Next)”


The Surefire Method to Repel Connections and Make People Mad at You

i-cant-see-you-la-la-la-la-laIgnore them.

When they leave a comment on the blog, read it, maybe, but don’t respond.

If they ask a question on social media or by email, ignore it.

Don’t offer new information, say, by posting to your blog or updating your website.

Instead, disappear for weeks at a time.

If you want to compete in the business of being an author in 2016 you had better be approachable and responsive.

Or someone who is will take your readers.

And their money.


When is it Appropriate to Offer Unsolicited Criticism of Someone’s Art?

cat-up-a-treeThere’s an old story about a chap who goes on vacation and leaves his dull-witted brother to care for the household.

After a week, he calls home and asks how his cat is faring.

“Cat’s dead,” his brother blurts.

“What? It’s what? That’s no way to tell someone their beloved pet died! Ya gotta work up to it.”

His brother, eager to learn, asks how one might do that.

Continue reading “When is it Appropriate to Offer Unsolicited Criticism of Someone’s Art?”


The Story (Cartel) Continues

Story CartelUpdate on my Story Cartel launch. My goal is to share every detail I can so you can see what would work for you.

Last Monday we sent out a special edition of the newsletter, and posted the same content here at the blog. We had launched the download at Story Cartel on Friday so we’d have the page’s URL for the post and newsletter.

By Monday morning, 9 Story Cartel members had already downloaded the book. This was before the newsletter and post went live.

The day of our launch, 9 more people downloaded the book; 6 of them newsletter subscribers. (One of the earlier downloaders is also a fan who follows everything I do closely, but I’m still pleased they discovered my launch on their own.)

According to Story Cartel’s data for average downloads per review, the 18 downloads shouldn’t result in any reviews. Continue reading “The Story (Cartel) Continues”


Who Are You Writing For? (It Isn’t Really Either/Or)

I should turn that into a song, eh?

vegComes up sometimes in discussion boards: write for yourself and find artistic fulfillment, or write for your audience and sell books?

Here’s what comes up in the research of Chip and Dan Heath, experts in the brain science of decision-making: avoid either/or thinking when making decisions. Consider more than two opposing options.

Today, consider taking a page from CompSci (that’s computer science for the 99.9% of you who’ve managed to elude its evil grasp.)

But first, let’s make soup. Continue reading “Who Are You Writing For? (It Isn’t Really Either/Or)”


Do One Thing

waterfallDrip. Drip. Drip.

Water wears away stone by constancy, not power, not volume.

Marketing with a long vision will serve you better than looking for short-term sales.

Every day, do one thing to market yourself as an author, or to learn more about successful marketing. Here are 20 ideas to get you started: Continue reading “Do One Thing”


Truth or Consequences: It’s Not Just a Town in New Mexico Any More

New Mexico windowTraffic is down here at Someday Box. We aren’t surprised, Best Beloved and I. The reposts from Finding Why and Business Heretics. Excerpts. Links to hither and yon.

Being the needy angsty type, my first impulse is to ask how I can make you love me more. The Dylan poster on my wall says it doesn’t matter who loves you as long as you love you.

Most of you show up on Friday, after the newsletter goes out. The in-between posts get less love, maybe because they’re not fresh. Maybe because the titles aren’t compelling. Maybe because they’re about someone else instead of me, and you’re all slavering and lusting for more me, less them.

Maybe I should have my head examined.

Truth is, there are consequences to change.

Continue reading “Truth or Consequences: It’s Not Just a Town in New Mexico Any More”



You Are What You Measure

Reading Callie’s thoughts at Steven Pressfield’s blog a while back raised some marketing questions in my head.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1261292 by Miguel Saavedra http://www.sxc.hu/profile/saavemWhich are you more interested in:

  • number of books sold or number of new fans?
  • number of words written or percentage of days you write something rather than nothing?
  • page views for your blog, or posts you’re proud of?

It’s good business to keep track of statistics.

It’s human nature to pay more attention to what’s easy to count instead of what’s hard to count.

It’s not always obvious that what matters to your business (you know, selling books as your own publisher?) is hard to count.

Continue reading “You Are What You Measure”


Mexican Hot or McDonald’s Hot?

The unsuspecting patron takes a giant bite of his McBlazing Wrap. Whips crack. Flames spurt. Explosions.

The McDonald’s commercial is implying that this meal is hot. I can assure you, though, that while I might find it well seasoned, I wouldn’t be reaching for the sugar water to douse the burning sensation in my mouth. Because I spent half of my childhood eating in Mexico, my notion of spicy is quite different from most of the folks who frequent McDonald’s. And, in fact, from most of the folks who live around here. A friend across the state line once remarked, “Minnesotans think ketchup is hot”.

image http://www.sxc.hu/photo/426172 by Charlie Balch http://www.sxc.hu/profile/nighthawk7

Why does McDonald’s pretend their meal is so spicy?

Continue reading “Mexican Hot or McDonald’s Hot?”


Books are 99% Commodity — Sell the Other 1%

There are more books than you could read in a hundred years, even if that’s all you ever did. In a way, books are a commodity.

The firehose-stream of new books, both independent and traditionally published, makes individual books even harder to distinguish. Your only hope of being found is to focus relentlessly on the 1% which makes your book unique.

I’m not suggesting that you find a way to convince people that your book is unlike anything which has ever come before. If you’ve written a murder mystery, your book is 99% like every murder mystery since Poe invented the genre. If your book is a historical romance, ditto.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1115981 by meral akbulut http://www.sxc.hu/profile/merala

Continue reading “Books are 99% Commodity — Sell the Other 1%”