Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Catch Fire Party & Tips to Blogging Success

Don't you all think there is something magical about a leap year, with the power harnessed on Feb 29th?

Well, today I’m participating in the launch party for my buddy and Ninja Captain extraordinaire Alex Cavanaugh’s second book—CassaFire!

If you haven’t read his first book, CassaStar, what are you waiting for??

It’s wonderful when you pick up a book outside of a genre you typically read and actually enjoy it. Space Opera and Sci-Fi may not be for everyone, but it doesn’t hurt to step outside of your comfort zone and give it a try.

Alex has graciously agreed to do a guest post today and give all of us bloggers some tips.

This guy is like the E.F. Hutton of the blogging world. Trust me, you want to know what he has to say. If you are too young to remember the E.F. Hutton commercials, just remember one day you will be my age.

On to the post all bloggers should read.

How does one build a Ninja army?

Ironically, I never set out to build a huge army of followers. Certainly not one that’s 1300 strong.

I used to view blogs with over 1000 followers in total awe. I couldn’t even imagine that many followers and never thought I’d hit that number. I always wondered how that person achieved so many. What was the secret? How did they gain so many followers?

It’s no secret, though. The answer is really simple. It takes involvement PLUS. The blogging world is a community. We can post on our blog, but unless we are involved in the community, we’re just talking to ourselves. (Even though I know writers sometimes do this.) Why go to all of the trouble to compose a blog post that almost no one reads? If we’re involved with other bloggers, then our posts will serve a purpose as well. (Even if it’s just to amuse others.)

So how does one get involved?

Follow and comment on other blogs
Participate in blogfests
Give back to the community

What’s the PLUS?

Possessing the right attitude and spirit.

And understanding that leading an army is an honor and a responsibility.

These qualities are important even if you only have a hundred followers. That’s when you are laying your foundation and establishing your character. A giving attitude and genuine nature needs to shine. And it simply can’t be faked.

If you master the PLUS early, those qualities will stay with you as your army grows!

Thanks again, Isis!

What do you guys think it takes to build an army? Thoughts? Questions? Anyone have a box of Hot Tamales?

Alex Cavanaugh’s book tour will run from February 27 through March 9 – and anyone who comments on his blog posts during that time can win a special package from his publisher: copy of CassaFire and CassaStar, a large tote bag, and a mug.

Congratulations, Alex!!

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 now!
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, 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
Book trailer available at
Barnes and Noble -
Amazon -
Amazon Kindle -


  1. I love the way that Alex points out that such qualities are important whether you have 100 followers or 1000. If you're genuine from the start, people will realise that. Congratulations Alex!

  2. Thank you so much, Isia! The EF Hutton and age thing made me chuckle. Oh yeah, I remember those commercials!

    Sarah, thanks!

  3. I bow to your expertise, Alex. You ARE the man when it comes to blogs. I sometimes get envious when I see the amount of followers on other's blogs, but I really DO appreciate and am thankful for the ones I have. Also, sooooo happy that your new release is getting lots of attention. And thank you Isis for being a gracious host.

  4. Obviously Isis has plenty of her own blog moxie, coming hard on the heels of Alex's 1,300 followers! Wow, you guys are incredible! As for EF Hutton commercials, I don't think I'm too young - unfortunately I think I'm too old. Le sigh.

  5. I think Captain Alex is right, you get what you put into it. It's the same thing with most aspects of life.

  6. Everything Alex said is very true. No, I don't have a box of Hot Tamales. :(

    Isis- I remember EF Hutton.

  7. Em, it's all about the connections. Those matter the most!

    Ciara, so true!

  8. Great advice. As always. Thanks Alex.

  9. Isis,
    regarding followers you are as successful as Alex.
    Congratulations and kudos for that.
    I think you do not need any advice how to get more followers.

    To be honest I do not have the time to take care on such a big readership. Therefore I'm happy with my 126 followers.

    Alex all your posts breathe enthusiasm and that is another reason why so many people follow you.

  10. Thanks for all of the wonderful feedback! Honestly, I had no idea how to get more followers, then I started watching what Alex and Elana Johnson were doing, and made them my role models.

    No matter if you have 100, 1,000, or 10,000 followers, engage when you can. Look at Kristen Lamb. She may not respond to every comment on her blog, but she does engage and usually offers free feedback to one lucky commenter during a week or a month.

    Figure out your own style, implementing tips from those who are successful and make it work for you.

  11. Just turned off nasty and unnecessary word verification folks. I didn't even know it was on. If someone still gets it, please let me know so I can fix.

  12. Hi, Iris, HI, ALex,

    Nice to meet you Iris ....

    Well, ALex, sorry for the late arrival. I always like to arrive casually late at parties, lol.

    Your advice is stellar as always. How you do it amazes all of us and that is what makes you SOOOO special to all of us in our community.

    Great success with your book Alex!

  13. Wow, Alex! You are all over the place, and everybody loves you! Great buzz for your books. :)

  14. Edi, almost 1400 is way more than I can handle as well! And thanks, I try to make my posts fun and enthusiastic.

    Thanks, Michael!

    Thank you everyone!

  15. Wonderful advice and so true, Alex!

    And it's nice to meet Isis, as well. New follower. :)

  16. People like a good blog and will not only hit that follow button but also return and comment. I ran across a blog with over 3,000 followers yesterday but not a lot of comments. I had to wonder if most visitors ever returned.

  17. The connections, the authenticity, all add up to why everyone loves and respects you Alex. You get what you give, period! Great advice, your bodaciousness. :-)

    Isis, thanks for hosting THE MAN! :-)

  18. Hi Isis, Hi Alex
    My followers have fallen off but I can't expect people to hang out when illness has kept me from visiting and posting 90% of the time. Thankfully, I've received good news from the doctor and I'm getting better everyday. Your army is amazing Alex.

  19. Great advice. I think what makes blogs work and friendships build is also being yourself. I see blogs with many followers too often, but no comments. Does anyone really care to read them?
    You have to give to be able to receive.

  20. Stephen, good point! That is sad.

    Robyn, thank you!

    Marta, well said!

  21. Alex, you are one of the mega bloggers. I'm always amazed at the way you are able to visit with everyone.

  22. Alex, you are totally a Ninja Blogger. Congrats on your new book!

    Waving to Isis :)

  23. I may not have as much experience at blogging as Alex or you, Isis, but it seems to me that blogging is reciprocal. If you go and read and comment on one person's blog then they do the favor for you. That's exclusively how I've built my following and all that I recommend to people that ask.

  24. Nancy ~ Way to go on your good news regarding your health. Hope the positive energy continues to flow for you.

    Carol ~ Waving right back. Need to connect with GIAM again.

    Michael ~ Great points!

  25. This is GREAT advice! Thank you for sharing this. CONGRATS, Alex, on an awesome book release. I've had fun stopping by so many of the blogs who helped make your release day a great one.

    Hi, Isis! Nice to meet you.

    1. So many great thoughts and advice as usual. Congratulations on your second book release!!!


  26. Michael, and it's the genuine comments that matter. Still has a lot to do with attitude.

    Suzanne, thank you!

  27. Someone posted in Facebook yesterday. The dictionary said Ninjas don't exist. Well done, Alex's Ninja army. They are unobstructive but powerful, in the blogsphere. They may conquer the space soon too. Of course, the army head, Alex shouldn't be seen either, because Byron and Athee are main stars here.

    The Spinster’s Vow

  28. I am still in awe of blogs with 1000 followers. :) I hope to have that kind of readership one day. You are absolutely right when you say it is a community, and it is one I'm happy to take part in.

  29. Hi Isis, new follower from Alex's blog and yes, I'm in awe of blogs with 1000+ readers!

  30. Enid, who says Ninjas don't exist????

    Tina, it will happen!

    Johanna, we all started with none.

  31. Gotta love authenticity, especially in a community as tight-knit as ours. Great post! :)

  32. Alex has the best advice as far as how to blog successfully. I'm in awe of bloggers who have over 1,000 followers, too. Kudos to Alex and you, Isis. And yay for CassaFire's launch!

  33. Your advice is great. I'm in awe of you, Alex.

  34. Isis and Alex, your wit and genuiness make your cyber-home a fun, easy place to visit and want to return to. Great success on CASSAFIRE, Alex!

    Working as I do sometimes 20 hours straight as a rare blood courier, I do not have the time to say thanks as much as I want to all my friends who drop in.

    Now, Blogger has removed sending email comments to me when my friends leave a comment. What with their nasty 2 word verification, Blogger is becoming less user friendly all the time.

    Lovely blog, Isis. Blogger refused to let me follow. Sigh. Maybe it heard what I said? Roland

  35. Lyn, very soon you will be one of those bloggers!

    Christine, thank you - I'm just Alex.

    Roland, hopefully you'll be able to follow her later, because Isis is wonderful.

  36. Hi Isis - lovely to meet you. It makes you feel like that blogger is one of your best friends- and as such, you're there right behind them whatever they do - and their success and happiness has a personal impact on you as their follower...
    Alex - you're a hero :)
    Laura x

  37. I look forward to reading the Cassa books.

    Alex is a blogging king. He's supportive and engaging.

  38. I can't imagine having over a hundred comments to respond to as you do. I'm getting better at keeping up. I'm using you as inspiration.

  39. I love your name Isis : )
    Great interview you two
    Now I have another name for Alex, Captain Plus!

  40. I totally agree with all the blogging tips, although I never thought of the term ninjas. That's a cool way of thinking of your regular followers.

    I just started blogging, but I try to follow other blogs regularly. It seems to be working so far.

    Keep up the good nice.

    Nice interview, Isis!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  41. And our attitude is all we can control. Excellent tips.

  42. Love the part about shining whether we have 100 or 1000 followers!

  43. Laura, you're going to make this Ninja blush!

    Susan, some days it isn't easy.

    Ella, the name keeps getting longer and longer...

    Patricia, Ninja was a nickname someone gave me and it stuck.

    Tyrean, it's the truth!

  44. Aloha Isis,

    I found you via the link from Alex's blog, and just wanted to say thanks for hosting The Captain:)

    I'm a new follower:)

  45. Big thanks to my regular followers and BIG hello to all new followers. Look forward to connecting with you.

    Alex is a great guy to have on. I'd planned on eventually asking him, then his second book came out and fate helped me out.

  46. Hi Isis. Hi Alex. Very many truths re blogging. No point in writing posts no one reads and you can't expect anyone to if you read no one elses, yet I know some people who do exactly that.


  47. That's a great piece of advice not just for blogging but other areas of life, building lasting connections.
    I do enjoy his posts, always has something new or interesting for me, even its a shoutout.
    Nice meeting you Isis...can I say, your header makes me go back to day beautiful and soothing.

  48. I think building a following that large would take all my free time; and I have precious little of that. I congratulate you sir for being able to invest the time and energy in building your awesome platform :)


  49. Love your advice... just need to find some more hours in the day:)

  50. Great tips shared, Alex. Thanks to you, Isis, as well, for hosting.

  51. Isis, I was honored you would host me!

    Denise, so do I! Sad, isn't it?

    Thanks, Donna - it does take time.

  52. It think it's hard to find that right blend of posts that are interesting to everyone, or most everyone.

    Iris, this is my first visit and it is beautiful here.

  53. Well, Alex, you certainly possess the right spirit for making that connection in the blogsphere. You've done amazingly well. Congrats on the success of your books.

  54. Alex rules bloggyland. Many lessons for us all to learn from.

  55. There certainly is a reason why Alex is the ninja master and is so loved and respected. This interview is just part of the reason.

  56. Hey Holly! You always have interesting posts.

    Lynda, thank you!

    Jessica and Mary, thank you.

  57. Alex's advice is helpful in all areas of life. I wish I would have known him in high school! Thanks for a great interview Isis! Julie

  58. Hi Isis, nice to meet you! Thanks for hosting one of my favorite bloggers.
    You're right of course Alex, that it takes something special, and that is your personal touch and enthusiasm you bring to each visit and comment. You're a positive person, and that shines through.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-Host of the April A to Z Challenge
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge

  59. Fabulous interview, Isis. So glad to visit your blog again. I'm adding it to my reader :-)

  60. WOW! Amazing post! This has been very inspirational. I'm new to the community and reading this really helped me out. I would really appreciate it if you checked out my blog over at

    Thanks and enjoy your weekend!

  61. Alex, you really do give some great advice. No one understand how to build a ninja army better than a Captain Ninja after all. All kidding aside I would direct an newbie to you for advice on blogging and social networking.

    Isis, great interview! I may be commenting on the 4th of March, but February 29 is defintiely a very special day. :)

  62. Having a following of that scale scares me. Too much power, too much expectation for me to deliver.

  63. Aloha Isis,

    Thanks for the return follow - I appreciate it :)