So you can read my books

Friday, November 15, 2013



I.)  Agents don't read blogs ...

     As a rule that is. 

Unless you have 30,000 visitors a month, the agent wants to know the quality of your work not your blog.

II.) People visit blogs to see what's in it for them.

     We want the seven secrets to success in getting published ... and if you have them, would you please email them to me!

     Sadly, even I have fallen into the trap of trying to get people to buy my book.  Wrong way to write a blog. 

     Have something worthwhile and supportive to say.  Most of us know the basics.  Most of us are also struggling in the dark of doubt.

     Walter Knight had a great idea for all of us: Craig's List.  Go there and see if you can snare the attention of non-writing readers.  Until we do that, we will not succeed at selling our books unless we devote 12 hours a day to it.

     I have a day job so that is out ... and I would wager that kind of investment is out for most of you.

     Plus, social networking is a time suck. You can go pretty far down the rabbit hole with Tweets and Facebook updates. Then you lose sight of the thing that’s really going to get you published: writing.

III.) Focus on your writing.

     And if you feel the need to be online, which you should, at least in some small way, put up a simple three page site: main landing page with info about your work, about you page, contact page.


  • Create interesting content.

  • Leverage everything you do —

  •  blog about school visits, author events, books you’re reading, movies you see that have a good writing take-away,

    milestones of your book’s journey to publication if you’re that far along

    (check with your editor, though, to make sure you can post cover images and other production-related stuff), your agent search, etc.

  • If you’re an illustrator, share sketches and finishes,

  • talk about your process, talk about the tools you use, show works in progress.

  • Use pictures or cover images to liven up your posts.

  • Tweet or Facebook or post interesting links you find, don’t just blah blah blah all by yourself.

  • Leverage other people to create content for you —
  • host blog tours, have guest blogs, do interviews,
  • bring added value by using your blog to
  • spotlight fun and different people who fit in with the theme of your blog.

  • Write about things that interest a wider audience —
  • like here, sometimes I write articles on writing craft that can apply to fantasy writers
  •  but that can really benefit a broader audience, too.

  • Do contests and giveaways —
  • remember, people are always asking “What’s in it for me?” when they read blogs.
    V.) DON'T'S

  • Rant or talk endlessly about yourself —  Enough about me; what do you think about me?

  • Do make your blog a place that other people will want to visit.

    Besides, if you rant about how hard it is to get published or what scum publishing professionals are, it’ll come back to bite you.

    The agent who clicks on your blog link in your query will think you’re a negative and difficult person…

    not a positive business partner who will be a joy to work with.

    Don't ...Force it.

    Again, there are too many blogs online to try and add yours to the heap if you’re not committed. You’re better off not having one instead of doing a bad or unenthusiastic job.

  • Leave your blog hanging.
  • Blogs are a huge time commitment and endlessly hungry little monsters.
  • By the very virtue of a blog, your most recent post will be the first thing visitors see.

  •      If it’s from eight months ago, you’ll look outdated.

    If you can’t update at least once a week, you should think of a static website like the one I mentioned above.

  • Promote via Facebook.
  • Use Facebook to get in touch with friends and fans and writing buddies. Don’t use your Facebook as a platform,
  • just set up a simple profile and use it to connect.

  • Exist in isolation. When you’re staring to blog, reach out.

  • Respond to comments on Twitter.

    Post comments on the blogs of people who comment on your blog. Read other blogs. You can’t expect the “social” part of social media to be a one way street.

    (Note, readers… I am a total hypocrite because I am too swamped to do this part… Forgiveness, please.

    But ill infants are getting the rare blood they deparately need.)

         This should at least get you thinking about how much social media you really need and how much to get involved in.

    It’s a slippery slope.

    Some people start and can’t stop,

    others start and can’t wait to stop,

    leaving their blog skeletons up for the whole world to see

    Find your own style.

    Concerns of online platform are more pressing for non-fiction writers,

    so the pressure is less for fiction writers,

    but you should still have SOME kind of online face. Agents do look for one, even for fiction folks.

    If your book is picked up by a publisher,

    they’ll expect you to do some online marketing.

    It’s better to have at least a small website and some presence than none at all.


    1. Love the comic!
      You always give great advice. I blog for enjoyment and therapy. I can't imagine someone just reading them for work to find the next great authors.

    2. David:
      Some years back, I posted on how to do a query and gave one of mine as an example. An agent was trolling the blogs at random and read mine -- she requested it out of the blue!

      Alas, she was underwhelmed -- but it proves sometimes odd things happen!

    3. Good pointers! Social media can be such a time suck. I decided I would focus on one aspect, my blog, and just give the bare bones to other forms. Facebook is just me right now, not me, the author. I like it that way.

      The Warrior Muse

    4. Hi Roland .. great advice here - and one I can see from the sidelines ... I've yet to branch into FB and Tw et al yet - I keep threatening myself!

      So much better to let 'our' books organically get out there, rather than shout from the roof tops.

      Loved the video clip .. comic books and cartoon strips are so clever ...

      Cheers and your babies do need you way more than FB and Tweeters do ... all the best for the weekend - Hilary

    5. Will always enjoy Calvin & Hobbes.

      You're right about blogs and trying to keep it interesting, and that social media can devour time.

      Interesting and thoughtful post. :)

    6. Shannon:
      You're wise to simply stick to one aspect -- the shotgun approach makes no one form of social media effective. Thanks for liking my post. :-)

      I'm just about to hit the road for a blood run and a long weekend of them! By myself!! Ouch.

      I am hardly a shadow on FB and Twitter myself. I miss the golden age of comics. :-(

      You and I will both be true Calvin and Hobbes fans, right?

      We have so little time and to waste it seems almost a crime. Thanks for enjoying my post.

    7. Good blogging points, Roland. It takes a few months to find your blogging place and voice. Some people give up because it takes a while and some effort to gain an audience, as you indicate.

      My blog is my social media, for the present. I am not drawn to Twitter or FB.

    8. Excellent suggestions, Roland.

      Love the comic :)

    9. It's the "creating interesting content" part that's the hardest. I don't think it's one of my strong suits :P.

      I like the part about using Craig's List. Interesting idea.

    10. D.G.:
      I think I went through a year of daily posts before I got a single comment. Ouch! Or at least it seemed a year.

      I am not a FB or Twitter person either!

      I love CALVIN & HOBBES. I can't wait for the documentary. :-)

      J E:
      Creating interesting content day in and day out certainly is a challenge -- and draining!!

    11. Hi Roland:

      Ha! I still post cover art for my books on Craig's List every few days. I don't know if it results in sales, but it's good therapy, and I get lots of business offers from overseas to share my bank account.

      New authors can't control sales much. What you can control is your writing. Write as much as possible. I wrote a 21 book series, America's Galactic Foreign Legion, (yes, that's a plug) figuring I will keep writing until I can't be ignored.

      Write with passion, anger, and happiness. Let it all out until you've finally said what you want to say. That way you win, whether you sell books or not.