Wordpress Stats: Seeing is Believing

In a previous post called “The Blog, the Tweet, and the Facebook Page,” I mentioned that creating a relationship with other bloggers is a must. I came to that conclusion based upon the behavior of those who followed me on various social media outlets. I also mentioned that I really didn’t push or spend a lot of time on #Facebook. Also, when it comes to blog stats, I usually only checked the “out-clicks” to see how many people were exiting my #blog by going to my Amazon, Nook, or Smashwords.

FB

My Social Network by Luc Legay used under CC License

But I had a jaw-dropping revelation when I looked into my WordPress stats the other day. Facebook was the source for the most referrers, i.e. where someone was when they decided to click into my blog. The second was Search Engines, then Google+ and Twitter. Why are these stats surprising? Because I usually spend the most time promoting my blog on Google+ and Twitter. When I thought about it, it didn’t take long to figure out why this happened. I use Facebook in the same way that I blog, taking the time to visit other pages and leave commentary rather than promoting my own stuff.

Let me be clear for a second, I am not a spammer (and never have been), on Google+ and Twitter. However, when I look back at all of my tweets and Google+ posts, most of them were promotional. I think it’s time to switch gears and use the rest of social media in the same way as I’ve been using Facebook and blogging.

You may experience the same if you go into your WordPress bar graph (site stats for last 48 hours), then look at the referrer’s box and click summaries. You can view your referrers for different time periods as well.

O.K. now that you’ve looked, what did you find out about your stats?

Ragged Souls

The title of my latest short story collection is Ragged Souls: 3 Tales of the Holy, the Strange, and the Bizarre. It was my editor, Ruth, who created the subtitle for this book. She read and pondered the three stories before having a flash of insight into a connecting theme.

Let’s take a look at “Holy” for a minute. In Martha’s Kitchen, one could discuss the concept of misguided piety. For A Purveyor of Odd Things, it would be a general lack of Holiness. Finally , in Cactus Valley, worldliness is the cause for impiety. However, we get to witness an attempt at Angelic intervention in this last story.

I can sum up the usage of “Strange”, and “Bizarre” quite readily. Within Ragged Souls you’ll meet Angels, Demons, Dopplegangers, Murderers, and Mummies. Need I say more?

Here are excerpts from the three stories that you’ll find within the pages of the Ragged Souls collection.

A Purveyor of Odd Things

Meet Detective Renner Branson, a man so enslaved to his work that he’s forgotten how to live. In his newest baffling case, he will discover secrets – not just about the world, but about himself. The terrors lurking within may shatter his grip on reality.  Or they may show him just how beautiful reality can be.

Excerpt:

Branson squeezed his eyes shut. His sense of real and unreal, of possible and impossible, was shredded by these apparitions. He wanted so badly to run, run anywhere, to the car, to the gate, anything to get away from this insanity. But he wouldn’t – couldn’t – leave Hannah. Through his panic he became aware of her clammy hand clutching his, and though he tugged on it, she seemed unable to move. Paralyzed by that cold stare. Fight or flight…or freeze.

Available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo and Smashwords for all other formats.  Free extended excerpt at Wattpad.

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Martha’s Kitchen

Martha and Jillian, two sisters from a dying town, cope with the hollowness of city life in a bloodcurdling way. Come explore this bizarre case of nostalgia gone horribly awry, but beware the secret recipe at Martha’s Kitchen!

Excerpt:

“His pants and suspenders are still on. I hope he didn’t soil himself,” Martha said.

“No, I heard the toilet flush.”

“It figures,” Martha said. “Mr. Jenkins always was a proper gentleman.”

Available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Smashwords for all other formats.  Free extended excerpt at Wattpad.

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Cactus Valley

One New York couple’s vacation turns into a horrific nightmare. Ancient forces of good and evil do battle to win their souls – but which will be victorious?

Excerpt:

In a tense voice, Andrea said, “There’s still enough gas for thirty miles. Turn around.”

“We’ll never make it back that far. See if there’s another one ahead.”

Andrea studied the road atlas. “Okay. Get off at the next exit and make a right. There’s a service station about fifteen miles away.”

Available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and on Smashwords for all other formatsFree extended excerpts on Wattpad.

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Cover Reveal for Gematria² – Breaking Convention

Announcing the cover reveal for my latest short story, Gematria²!

Gematriacovblog

The writing approach in this short can be summed up as breaking the conventional mold of formula writing. But that doesn’t mean that I’ve created a new style for other authors to emulate, because I’m doing the emulating.

I’ve always been enamored with the styles and conventions of South American authors, namely Julio Cortázar and Jorge Luís Borges. If you read anything from these short story masters you will immediately notice differences from the North American writers you may be used to. For one thing, these authors don’t describe or sometimes even name characters. They play with time, space, human consciousness, synchronicity, metaphysics, philosophy, and magical realism, to name a few themes.

The best way that I can describe the style is non-formulaic literature. With Gematria², I tried that approach as best as I could.  When I presented it to a critique group, some scoffed, although they couldn’t exactly say what was bothering them. Others embraced it as pure literature and eagerly volunteered to beta read future drafts.

Gematria² will be released on Smashwords as a FREE download on February 15th, 2014 on all e-reader formats. If you prefer getting your e-books from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, it will be listed there as well about one to two weeks later.  As a bonus, the release also contains extended excerpts from my other short stories.  Hope you enjoy!

Free Previews: A Double-Edged Sword?

If you’ve browsed for a novel or a short story at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords, then you’re probably familiar with the free preview feature. On Amazon you can view the first 10% of an e-book, and on Smashwords it varies by author preference.

Now many think that this is a positive feature for your work. After all, you’ve been through several revisions of the piece and you want prospective readers to see that you’re not contributing to the dreaded Indie Author Stigma. You want to show that your writing is clear and properly edited, with no amateur errors.

I suppose that’s a good thing, but here’s the problem. I’ve heard that most audiences today judge whether or not they like a film within the first five minutes, and I suspect that readers are no different. So what happens when the best parts of your work are in the middle or at the end?

I’m selling short stories right now, as a way to build up some readership before my novel is ready for the public. My own quirky story-telling manner never jumps at you in the first page or two. Instead, my style does quite the opposite. I like to lull a reader into a sense of security before everything begins to run amok. Therefore, the first page or two may not hook a potential reader and reel them in. But my beta readers tell me that the lulling makes for a real punch at the end, so I’m reluctant to change this style.

Now, we all know about the need for a first chapter to be powerful. However, I’m talking about a short story, which can be chapter length or less. So the online retailers only show the first few pages, which I generally use to establish characters and setting. Therefore that percentage-based preview often cuts off before the story really gets going.  And I really wonder if that is affecting my readership.

So I have two questions for the blogosphere:

Readers:  

Authors:

A Purveyor of Odd Things Published!

Announcing the release of my newest short story, A Purveyor of Odd Things, on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!  It’s a fun read for anyone who’s into detective stories, the supernatural, Hitchcock or the Twilight Zone.

The description: Meet Detective Renner Branson, a man so enslaved to his work that he’s forgotten how to live. In his newest baffling case, he will discover secrets – not just about the world, but about himself.  The terrors lurking within may shatter his grip on reality.  Or they may show him just how beautiful reality can be.

Excerpt:

Branson squeezed his eyes shut. His sense of real and unreal, of possible and impossible, was shredded by these apparitions. He wanted so badly to run, run anywhere, to the car, to the gate, anything to get away from this insanity. But he wouldn’t – couldn’t – leave Hannah. Through his panic he became aware of her clammy hand clutching his, and though he tugged on it, she seemed unable to move. Paralyzed by that cold stare. Fight or flight…or freeze.

It’s up for only $0.99, come check it out!

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Martha’s Kitchen Published!

Announcing the release of my new short story, Martha’s Kitchen, on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!  If you love a good dose of dark humor, this is definitely for you.

The description:  Martha and Jillian, two sisters from a dying town, cope with the hollowness of city life in a bloodcurdling way. Come explore this bizarre case of nostalgia gone horribly awry, but beware the secret recipe at Martha’s Kitchen!

This is my first published work, selling at only $0.99, so if you can, please purchase a copy and let me know what you think (and let your friends know too).  No spoilers please!

Also coming soon on Kindle and Nook is Stasis, a Libertarian-themed short story about the horrors of big government. Evil flourishes when good people stay quiet.

Thanks everyone!

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