So you can read my books

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

NO ONE VISITS; NO ONE CARES_Insecure Writers Support

What we write and 
what others see 
when reading our words
are often two different things.

No one visits your blog?  
No one cares?

Why should they?  What is in your blog post for them?

The same goes for your book.  What does it do for the reader?

Are your posts all about your new book?  

{By the way, did you notice mine in my sidebar?}   

Sorry, I couldn't resist.  But you and I should resist.

The ghost of Will Rogers just reminded me 
that our horns sound much louder 
when someone else is tooting them!

Are your posts mainly advertisements for others' books?  

People shy away from those posts, too.  

They want to read how to make THEIR books sell.

I am reluctant to ask others to have me on their blogs to talk about my books 

since I know their visitor count drops when I do.

So how to get our books noticed?

The ghost of Mark Twain just ambled by with his daughter, Susy 
(you can see the both of them in THE STARS BLEED AT MIDNIGHT)


Mark swatted me, saying I had hawked one of my dang books again!

Anyway his ghost reminded me that writing is easy -- 

all you have to do is cross out the wrong words and replace them with the right ones.

This time Susy swatted him.  

At her stomping foot insistence he grudgingly gave up one of his keys to writing well:  

"The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what most of us are unable to say."


(A surprising sequel will be published this July -- "Go Set A Watchman.")

Here are some extracts from her prize winning book:

"Maycomb, a one-taxi village, where a day is 24 hours long but seems longer.  No one hurries here, for there is nowhere to go."

"Ladies here bathed before noon, after their 3 O' Clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum."

Scout's older brother Jem and good friend Dill see the white southern world for what it is: a world of hypocrisy, 

a world burdened with old racist attitudes which have nothing to do with humanity. 

Jem says, "I always thought Maycomb folks were the best folks in the world, least that's what they seemed like." 

Dill decides he will be a new kind of clown. "I'm gonna stand in the middle of the ring and laugh at the folks.... Every one of `em oughta be ridin' broomsticks."

"No matter how you try to divide up the Human Race, there's really just one kind of folks.  Folks."

Writing like that will generate Word of Mouth 

because they evoke images and realities in words that sing to our psyches.

{Sadly in Oct 17, 2013, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD was re-banned in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana.}

Susy just swatted her father again when he cackled, 

"And the next day, every dang copy of it in the whole durn parish was bought and read for all the juicy forbidden parts!"

Mark is right: 

if we can just manage for our books to be banned, we will shoot up the bestseller lists.  

But in today's society, what could we write so base as to be banned?

So how to write a bestseller?


      As in "A woman shot the clerk in front of me and ran away."  


      "What's wrong with me?  I'll tell you what's wrong!  

A smelly old woman shot the clerk right in front of me.  She ran out of the store, but before she did, she spun around and sobbed out one word.  

God.  That word.  I had to have misheard.  I had to!  What was it?  I won't ... I can't tell you.  I - I need a drink."


     As with the above example, try to put the kind of detail in stories that will make people experience what the characters are experiencing.


      An estimated one out of every 17 hardcover novels purchased in the United States belongs to James Patterson, the poster boy of short chapters.

     Short chapters keep people reading.  

They are not the kind of chapters I like to read -- 

I always feel as if the author were trying to make me ADD.


     I try to pretend that there's somebody across from me and I'm telling them a story 

and I don't want them to get up until I'm finished. 

John Grisham always plants a really powerful hook early:

 that question that makes you want to know what the hell is gonna happen to this man or this woman. 

I hope this helps in some small way.


  1. I am really excited at the prospect of another novel by Harper Lee. I gather it had been lost for a number of years, and was written before 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. With an adult Scout...

  2. Elephant's Child:
    Yes, the publisher read this "lost" book and wanted Ms. Lee to write a whole novel based on the flashbacks. She did, promptly losing the first book. Her attorney found it, and we have a treasure to look forward to. How neat is that?

  3. When I read the title for this post I literally said, "I visit! I care!" :D And I would LOVE to have you on my blog to talk about one of your books. I have a spot open May 29th (I know it's a ways away), but I'd be honored to have you! Email me and we can set something up. ChrysFey(at)Yahoo(dot)com

  4. Roland, you are always welcome to visit me. My comments and visits will not go down.
    Amazed Lee is finally writing another book. Maybe she really didn't want to be an author either?
    I don't do short chapters, so hopefully short books works in my favor.

  5. Chrys:
    Thanks! Sometimes we authors get to feeling a bit down. I will take you up on that offer. I hate to invite myself, but accepting an invitation seems gentlemanly. :-)

    It is actually Harper's FIRST book. Her publisher read those long years ago and asked her to write ANOTHER novel based on the flashbacks --

    And Harper being new and eager to please wrote TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD!

    Like you, I hope SHORT books work as well, too! RETURN OF THE LAST SHAMAN is only 97 pages.

    Let me know when an available date is open for you, and I will be there ... if you have a topic you would like me to do, I will give it my best. :-)

  6. Hi, dear friend. You are among the blogging friends I have missed the most! As long as I live and can remember, I'll have the words of your stories I've read thus far in me. Your prose is hauntingly poetic, and I look forward to reading the novella you just gifted me. Thank you so much. I know I will write a glowing review as I have already read the first few pages that are pulling me deeper into the characters and worlds that only you can create. So glad to see from the above comments that there are others who feel as I do about your talent (Alex too is wonderful). And how exciting that there will be another Harper Lee novel published in my lifetime. If I had only written a To Kill a Mockingbird novel, I'd be content. It is my all-time favorite. Many :-) and ((( ))).

  7. Ann:
    I think Harper Lee never wrote another novel after MOCKINGBIRD because she feared she would never again be able to pull off that magic again.

    How wonderful that her lawyer kept the novel that was written BEFORE Mockingbird!

    I look forward to July, too!! It would be hard to imagine how it would feel to have written a novel like MOCKINGBIRD that affected so many so deeply.

    Such nice words about my prose! The ghost of Mark Twain just swatted me to keep me humble! :-)

    Since I know what email works for you, I will send you the audio of HIBBS, THE CUB WITH NO CLUE so that you can have a complete set of the adventures of the bear you like so. :-)

  8. Isn't the news about Harper Lee splendid?

    You know me well enough to know I'm going to be honest. The truth is, I do get weary of repeatedly going to blogs only to find someone other than the blogger featured, whether it's an interview, a promotion for someone else's book, or a guest blogger. If it happens enough times, I look at it as a time waste, and I stop visiting. There, I've said it.

    I visit the blogs because I want to hear what the blogger has to say, whether it's about process, promoting their work, or just about what their cat did last night. To always—ALWAYS being the operative word—have guest bloggers feels like a bait and switch. There are review/book blogs out there that specialize in presenting authors and their work. They're awesome, but that's not what I'm looking for when I blog hop. I'm looking for interaction with someone who I respect. If I want to learn about new books, authors, releases, I'll visit the one of the aforementioned review/book blog sites.

    You are always welcome to visit me, Roland. I never look at my stats, but I bet your presence would cause my numbers to soar.

    VR Barkowski

  9. Plant the hook right away. Excellent. Just excellent. Of course, I had to get to the BOTTOM of this post to find this nugget...::grin::wink::

  10. VR:
    You are much like my best friend, Sandra. I know I will always get the truth from you. A reassuring thing in an unsure world. :-)

    Yes, I have seen blogs wither because of constant selling of themselves or of someone else. Like you said, we want to visit an old friend whose personality we have come to like.

    Jessica Bell has turned her blog into guest blogger of the day, and it has saddened me. But it is her cyber-home to do with as she wishes, right? But I still feel a bit abandoned. Human nature.

    I would be really honored to visit as a guest with the first blogger who welcomed me to the community. I remember when you left blogdom for awhile. I felt depressed as if a local friend has moved to Europe. If you have a free day or a topic to discuss with me I would do my best to be an entertaining guest. :-)

    I try to be entertaining and teasing to lure you and all my other friends to the end of my posts! I hope you enjoyed the journey. The ghost of Mark Twain he knows you enjoyed his part in it!! :-)

  11. VR:
    And YES, the news about Harper Lee is fantastic!! :-)

  12. Oh goodness… so many great things in this post, how do I highlight them? I suppose you already did. ;) So exciting with Harper Lee and you always have the best thoughts, Roland. <3

  13. What sells and what doesn't continues to baffle me, but I sure like the idea of telling a story over writing a book!

  14. Great advice--What IS in it for the reader? Excellent way of thinking!

  15. I miss Jessica, too, although I did appreciate that she let us know about the change in advance and didn't spring it without warning. Even with that, I've only visited her new site a handful of times. :(

    Please come visit, Roland! The Monday of your choice. I still remember when you visited to talk about World Building and The (wonderful) Bear with Two Shadows. That will have been four years ago in March. Can you believe it?

    VR Barkowski

  16. Morgan:
    I don't know about the best thoughts -- but they are certainly unique! Thanks for thinking so! :-)

    James Patterson believes we need to spin a tale that our readers just have to know how it will end. Now, the trick is to do that, right?

    We write for the reader to buy, but for him to buy he has to want to enticed. Now, if I only knew how! :-)

    I believe Jessica thinks that her blog has done for her all it can. I think of my blog as connecting to friends -- which I guess is why I am still here.

    Thanks for the invitation. Four years. It both seems longer and not that long at the same time!

    I may talk of how it occurred to me to build a linked universe of novels with a set of individual heroes, each fighting in a cosmic war in their own way. But like with the X-Files, some adventures were apart from the Prime Danger.

    Have a great new week!

  17. It really is easy to feel like we get lost, eh? And it is such a marathon. I certainly don't have any easy answers on success. It must require something that I am not doing yet...

  18. Such a challenge this promo business. Can't do it for ourselves. Can't decide what works and what doesn't without spending tons of time or money. Who said this was going to be easy?

  19. Ann Best is a friend of mine too and I just read her comment above and found the word I was looking for, but didn't come up with as I wrote about The Stars Bleed At Midnight in my Good Books of 2014: Hauntingly poetic. I wonder, can I steal it when I post a review on amazon. Your writing is like no other, completely original. Anyhow, things are a bit stressful here right now, which is why you haven't seen me for a while here on your fabulous blog.

  20. Hart:
    I wish you success in your renewed agent hunt. It IS a marathon. A professional writer is just an amateur who didn't quit. :-)

    Snoopy told me it was going to be easy. That will teach me to listen to a beagle! LOL.

    I am sure Ann will be pleased that you "borrow" her term "hauntingly poetic." Me, too. :-)

    I am so sorry that your husband had that bile obstruction and is far away from you at this time. And here, you come to pay me a visit and stay to chat. You are a special friend! My prayers are with you and your husband. :-)

  21. I haven't read TKAM since high school, but I plan to re-read it this year. The movie, of course, is another classic, and a big reason is because we care so much about the characters and feel the decency and courage of Atticus Finsh.

  22. Helena:
    Yes, the hearts and spirits of the main characters call out to us and whisper we are not alone in feeling misunderstood and puzzled at the hatefulness of so many people. Thanks for commenting. It means a lot!