So you can read my books

Wednesday, September 16, 2015



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. Replies
      1. Considering the avalanche of followers you have, I would say you are doing things just fine! :-)

    2. You made a good point about the day job. To make a living as a writer is difficult. Having a blog has helped me write better and surprisingly have opinions. I thought I had opinions.

    3. Lots of good points here. It's also important not to spread yourself too thin across too many platforms, so you don't connect effectively on any of them.

    4. I personally suck at marketing and self-promotion. I recently had some car magnets made of my two latest books and stuck them on my car. As luck would have it, they accidentally doubled my order, so I have four stickers. Nice, eh.

      And I feel weird about it. I mean, I want people to read my work, but I want them to ~want~ to read my work. I believe good books -- nay, sayeth I, ~great~ books -- selleth themselvesths.

      So I asked my publisher about this topic. I asked the marketing director, my editor, and I pinged and queried others. Of the myriad answers, the only one that made sense was this, from my publisher: Keep writing great books. Stay in front of the reader with new works.

      So that's my goal. I have FB and a blog, but Ro, man, you know my blog. It isn't the market-heavy blog anymore than yours is. It's a place to hang out and have coffee, beer, or a pint of rare blood. It's a place to share and converse.

      I believe that if you are genuine to yourself, and to your craft, and if you suck it up and market just a little, you'll find your way. Your books are incredible. I've read several, and am on the list for your audio book once I get my Tahoe out of the shop and go on a road trip. Heck, maybe I'll download it anyway to my ipod and listen to it on the bike, though that's a huge drain on concentration when you're on two wheels (not to mention wind noise...). Still, I'm a fan, and I talk you up because I ~like~ you and your work, not because you jabbed me in the eye with some savvy marketing jump-box CTA (Call To Action) pop-up on your nifty-arse website.

      I've even pitched you to publishers. I'm that much of a fan. I haven't read all your stuff (God, boy, you are prolific...), but it's very publishable.


      - Eric

    5. What an excellent, out of the box idea to promote your books around town! Way to be innovative.

      Yes, good or great books would sell themselves ... if they came to the public's attention. It is getting into the lime-light to be considered that is the real rub!

      Being a rare blood courier with an ever-growing area to cover, I find it harder and harder to write new books.

      I think our reader-friendly blogs are the way to go. Make our visitors comfortable, entertained, and welcomed. Perhaps they will give our books a try, right?

      That is very nice of you to mention me to publishers. Butt I have resigned myself never to be published by a outside publisher. I don't fit any genre that is firing up the market.

      I'm glad that you've enjoyed some of my books and proud that you want to listen to some of my audio books. Take care on that bike! Robert Rossmann's books are a great intro to my fictional worlds. DEATH IN THE HOUSE OF LIFE begins with 12 year old Samuel Clemens and takes him to 60 years old in 1895 Egypt with Nikola Tesla, Oscar Wilde, and my cursed Texican and alien wife. A whirlwind adventure. :-)

      Like you, I am deficient in book promoting. I've taken to putting 6 of my books into paperback editions and 22 in audio format -- some being as affordable as $6! How cool is that?