Friday, January 20, 2012

Alex Cavanaugh on Successful Blogging



Surely everyone - particularly those who adore SF - has heard of Alex Cavanaugh. He wrote a fabulous article for me here last year. He's also the author of the acclaimed Amazon best-seller SF adventure CassaStar and creator of its main character the rebellious, unforgettable whiz Cosbolt fighter-pilot Byron.

In addition, Alex is a successful blogger with a huge and faithful following - you can be proud if you say you belong to Alex's Ninja Army.

All writers should aspire to what he's achieved. So - and, of course, hoping to catch a few tips myself - I asked Alex to give some advice to those who are starting to blog.

Read on to find out what he said and also to hear about his new novel CassaFire which is due out Feb 28.



Alex: Here’s a few things I’ve learned about blogging over the years:
  • Blog about your passions! Every blog needs a focus and it doesn’t have to be about writing. If you select your blog’s theme based on what fires you up, it will come through in your posts and draw in readers. 
  • Remain positive. Sure we have our down days. (I started the Insecure Writer’s Support Group for just that purpose.) But if you’re constantly negative, no one will stick around. 
  • Set a schedule. Even if it’s just a couple days a week. 
  • Blog details do matter. Place your Google Friends Connect button high on your sidebar. Make it easy for people to leave comments. (Embedded comment boxes and word verification are challenging.) Keep your posts short and invite others to get involved in the discussion. 
  • Follow a variety of other blogs. Don’t just follow other writers and authors. You’ll learn a lot following them, but when it comes time for your book to enter the world, you want as wide an audience as possible. 
  • Get involved. Blogging is a community. You need to get involved by commenting on other blogs and participating in blogfests and other events. You need to give back by encouraging others and shouting out their accomplishments. 
  • It’s not the followers, it’s the connections. Sure you want a lot of people following your blog. But forming relationships is more important. 
Wow, that’s quite a list isn’t it?

Sue: But an invaluable list. Thank you :-)  I'll just check my Friends button...and see when the next blogfest is...
Alex, tell us about your new novel CassaFire. Are there any similarities with CassaStar? And how did it come about?

Alex: CassaFire begins twenty years after CassaStar ends.

Similarities: The storyline continues to follow Byron and his journeys. It’s still low-tech and focuses on character development.

Differences: This time there is a female lead, which adds a new relationship aspect. Most of CassaStar took place in space while the setting for this one is a planet. And I think it’s better written!
CassaFire came about because fans wanted more. They wondered why there were no women in CassaStar and wanted a female character. Yes, I panicked! Fortunately I’d envisioned many adventures for Byron and one revolved around Athee. I took advantage of NaNo 2010 and after many revisions, sent the book to my publisher last June.

And as they say, the rest is history!

Thanks again, Sue!

You're always very welcome, Alex. CassaStar is one of the few SF books I've read and enjoyed. Much as I adored Byron I'm so looking forward to reading about a female character (I foresee just as many sparks flying).


**** Here's a preview of what we can expect from CassaFire. And you really HAVE to take a look at the incredible Book-Trailer (below)...








CassaFire
by Alex J. Cavanaugh




CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities.

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

Available February 28, 2012
Science fiction - space opera/adventure
Print ISBN 978-0-9827139-4-5, $15.95, 6x9 Trade paperback, 240 pages
EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-6-9, $4.99, EBook available in all formats

CassaFire is the sequel to Cavanaugh’s first book, CassaStar, an Amazon Top Ten Best Seller:

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

You can visit the author’s site at http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/
Book trailer available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qa6VINRGtyE.
B&N - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cassafire-alex-j-cavanaugh/1034742568



59 comments:

  1. Wonderful interview Sue, not only is Alex an excellent writter he is a wonderful blogging friend. I read CassaStar though I am not a SciFi fan and really enjoyed it. I'm sure his next book will be equally successful.

    Yvonne.

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  2. No, thank you Alex :-)
    I think it'll be a success too Yvonne, it deserves to be.

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  3. Great tips, Alex. CassaFire sounds like a great read. Can't wait to get my hands on it.

    :-)

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  4. Alex- I'm excited about reading CassaStar and trying to hurry to beat your release of CassaFire! Those blogging tips are all so very true.
    Sue *waving* Hi.

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  5. Good tips as always. Totally stoked about CassaFire too.

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  6. Yvonne, I'm still so honored you read it!

    Misha, Brinda, and Rusty, thanks! Hope the next book doesn't disappoint.

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  7. Thank you for commenting Misha, Brinda (hi there!), and Rusty :-)

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  8. Nice list, Alex! "It’s not the followers, it’s the connections." That pretty much sums it up!

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  9. High-five Alex for advising people to keep their blogs positive and to focus on friendships rather than the number of followers. And CassaFire's release is almost here!

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  10. Some great tips, thanks Alex. I learn from you everyday :)

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  11. I'm excited about CassaFire's release. Great tips on blogging.

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  12. Sean, that's what matters.

    Thanks, LG.

    Thank you, everyone!

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  13. Thanks for the tips, Alex. Forming connections is so important. I've met incredible people through blogging.

    Your book trailer looks awesome!

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  14. Excellent! Good advice throughout.

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  15. Thank you Tonja, LG, Marta, Ciara, Laura and Charles. Glad it was useful. And the book trailer is amazing, Laura I agree.

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  16. I have this one sitting here on my desk and I can't wait to start it. When it disappears, I can find it in my 17 year old son's hands, lol! He's liking it and wants to read the first one, but not on my kindle. He wants a physical book.

    Good points on blogging Alex. I'm glad to be part of your Ninja army--I'm bringing up the rear, lol!

    Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

    Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

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  17. Great interview!
    Great Advice - I have to check my followers box, and I am trying (really) to get a short word count in . . . really.
    Thanks for a great combo post!

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  18. Alex is great! Wonderful that you featured him!

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  19. Just a few more weeks. Looking forward to CassaFire coming out. :)

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  20. I believe CassaFire will do even better than your first book, Alex. Thank goodness for NaNoWriMo, huh? Very good tips. And Susan, may your own blog take off like ... a rocket! Roland

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  21. I think so too, Roland (about CassaFire) - and thank you, it would be nice to take off like a rocket :-)

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  22. Sia, thanks! Guess you'll have to fight your son for the book.

    Roland, I hope so!

    Thanks Susan and everyone!

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  23. Excellent advice! I'm taking these tips to heart.

    I wish you all the success in the world for CassaFire.

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  24. Thanks for following my blog, Susan. I hope you visit more often. I think that this year will be your year! Roland

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  25. I'll let you know on 31st December, Roland! :-)

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  26. Great interview and wonderful advice. Can't wait for the new book, Alex!

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  27. There you have it from the master himself! Nice to meet you Susan! :)

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  28. Totally agree with you about blogging being about relationships. Looking forward to your new book.

    Nice to meet you, Susan.

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  29. Thank you, everyone! Wow, I hope no one is disappointed with CassaFire.

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    1. No-one's going to be disappointed :-)

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  30. Stellar blogging tips, a compelling sneak peek at CassaFire, and a trailer that deserves to win! Bobbing back over to your site, to garner details on voting, Alex.

    MUST read CassaStar. Oooh. B&N gift cards from Christmas burn a hole in my purse. Woot!

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  31. Excellent advice, Alex. Your release is almost here - very exciting!

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  32. Just a little over a month. Can't wait for CassaFirE.

    "It’s not the followers, it’s the connections." This says it all for me. I wish I had more time for this. I'm going to have to cut back on my blogging, and it's making me sad.

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    1. That's such a shame Donna - I read on your blog that you were cutting back :-(

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  33. There are two things which will give you and your blog a boost:
    Write I guest post on Alex' blog or Alex visit your blog an leaves a guest post or an interview.

    I know what I'm talking about. Alex, you delivered again one of your excellent guest posts. Thank you for that and thank you Susan for accepting it.

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    1. How right you are edi :-) My blog's never been so busy (it's lovely). I wonder if Alex is like King Midas - everything he touches turns to gold.

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  34. Gloria, thank you! I'm honored.

    Donna, connections are what keep us going.

    Edi, thanks so much for saying that. It's not me. It's my awesome Ninja Army of connections.

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  35. Great advice on blogging! :)

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  36. Great tips, and love the tidbits on CassaFire!

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  37. Thanks Golden and Alexia!

    Susan, I'm no king, just a Ninja.

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  38. Awesome advice on blogging. Alex you're such an expert at it. And I can't wait to read your book. I'm excited because I won it on Goodreads.

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  39. Alex is awesome! Loved CassaStar and am so looking forward to reading the sequel. I'd love to meet the woman who can break into Byron's very private world. I've always enjoyed the books that had something else as the focus, and brought the romantic in as an aside. I read plenty of bodice-rippers in my day, but now I need something "real" to go with it. If I could pick one genre, and only one, it would be sci-fi. Wishing you all the best in the release of CassaFire!

    Tina @ Life is Good

    Co-Host of the April 2012 Blogging from A to Z Challenge


    Twitter: #atozchallenge

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    1. Yes I'm looking forward to CassaFire too, Tina. Don't forget Byron will be older....;-)

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  40. Natalie, I saw that today! Forwarded the information to my publisher, so hopefully you'll receive your book soon.

    Tina, I really hope you like the way I handled all of that in CassaFire then.

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  41. Great advice Alex! It is about building friendships and sharing our view! Yes, being positive does help :D I'm excited to see more insight into Bryon's world. A woman will definitely invade his privacy! I'm going to get some Hot Tamales for Feb 28 to celebrate, "CassaFire"!

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  42. Thanks for the great advice Alex. Hope your book does fantastic! Nice to meet you Susan. :)

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    1. Nice to meet you too Jessica!

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  43. Thanks for sharing your advice, Alex! And good luck with CassaFire!

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  44. There's no one better to glean blog advice from than you, Alex. And I can't wait for the Fire! My book ho-ishness is trying to fill the days, but seriously, I can't wait :D

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  45. Tina, she is really going to mess with his world.

    Jessica and Adrienne, thanks!

    Angela, thank you - just five more weeks.

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  46. Captain Ninja is everywhere :) Great interview Susan

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    1. GREAT POST! I love Alex's blog and his book CassaStar. I'm excited for his next :)

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  47. I can never get tired of that trailer! Every time I watch it, I get excited for CassaFire! And I am guilty of word verification still, I believe. Every time I read that, I mean to go change it but always forget!

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  48. Thanks, Saumya!

    That's all right, Jennie. I continue to visit you anyway.

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  49. Nobody blogs like Alex.

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  50. You never said a truer word, Diane!

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