So you can read my books

Saturday, June 9, 2012



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. Hi Roland .. such sage advice - concentrating on your goal - your book/s is the most important thing - getting the word out there as best you can .. without overloading everyone.

      Cheers - have a good weekend and hope all is well in your end of the world ..Hilary

    2. It may be true that agents don't visit blogs and I do agree that you shouldn't blog negative but those who only ever blog about their writing don't excite me enough to revisit. I like a bit of personal, a bit of humour, to keep me coming back. I believe that writers should conduct their blogs as if agents visited every day. That way they are presenting themselves as professional writers and you never know what can come from that. My recent book was commissioned as a direct result of one of my blog posts.

    3. Thanks for the great advice, it inspires me to get on and write now!

    4. Check, check, and check! Except for the Facebook part. I've found my groove with blogging and Twitter.

    5. By only beginning my blog in 2010, I consider my blogging skills extremely novice. I've learned a lot over the past two years though.

      No, I don't believe agents visit my blog, and if they do, it must not impress them, because there's no one beating down my cyber door. 0_0 But, that's okay with me. At this point, I just need a place to ponder and connect with like-minded folk. My current blog will most likely not be a place where I will eventually sell my work. Support, offering and receiving, is now my blogging goal.

      These were some fabulous do's and don'ts, Roland. As always.

      I know for myself, I struggle (terribly) some days to keep up with it all. Emails, blogs, Twitter (no Facebook for me), and last but not least, my own writing.

      I miss things, forget things on a regular basis. I'm distracted by shiny objects, especially in this fast-paced, digital world. I like to believe that most people fall into this trap as well. It's nothing personal, right?

      We just do what we can do, and do our best at that. :))

      Keep up your writing, stay true to yourself. Be your own beautiful (my new motto!), and keep delivering the blood, Roland. Do you realize what a heroic job you do on a daily basis? Although exhausting and life-sucking, you have one of the most important day jobs in the world.

    6. Hilary:
      Our books got us into the blogverse. Our friends keep us interested. Still, our books being bought is our dream, isn't it? May your weekend be filled with moments of beauty and laughter.

      I'm so very happy for you! Yes, lightning does strike. An agent once asked to see the book for which I posted a sample query to help my friends in how to write one. Sadly, the agent passed. I wish you only the highest sales on your commissioned book.

      Indeed, writing is the thing that will propel our dream of being published into reality. Good luck.

      Many agents feel Facebook is for talking to friends not as a platform for presenting your prose -- so you are on the right track!

    7. Candilynn:
      Thanks for the great words about my job. Yes, I feel blessed (and often weary) being able to help the hurting with my job.

      Like you, I struggle to keep all the planets spinning in the orbits of my dreams and obligations! Dreams are dandy, but you have to pay the rent and do the laundry!

      I will admit to feeling down of late. Pushing yourself to the limit will do that. The illustrations to END OF DAYS alone are gorgeous enough to be worth the price of the book just to admire and enjoy them -- yet it is dying on the vine.

      Like the song "I Dreamed A Dream" laments: but there are dreams that cannot be.

      Be your own beautiful is a fine motto. I like Ghandi's: Be the change you wish to see.

      Thanks so much for talking, leaning over the cyber-fence, so to speak, Roland

    8. I've never even considered that an agent would want to see my blog. Don't know what would come of that. My blog doesn't have a real theme. I write what comes to mind or in response to meme prompts. The title doesn't reflect the content. I'll have to address this. Thanks for your advice.

    9. Excellent advice, Roland! You do a great job of visiting other blogs and commenting--thank you.

      "Enough about me; what do you think about me?"

      Ha ha.

      I especially like the wisdom of needing to write. Perhaps I should close these internet windows and do that very thing right now.

    10. I am more active in my blog when I'm not active in my manuscript. I started blogging to create a web presence (at least now when you Google my name, you don't get a bunch of Star Trek stuff) and ended up developing friendships. I like to think of my blog as a collection of musings about the writing -> publishing process. Those can span between silly exercises, blogfests that share excerpts from my wips, or analysis of romance itself. Am I disappointed I don't have 5 million followers? Not anymore. I can hardly keep up with the ones I do have.
      Moral of the story - write your book. :)

    11. *love*

      Great post, Roland. You're spot on. I'm still trying to find my balance, but I think I'm getting there... :)

    12. Myrna:
      Sometimes agents blog-surf (sort of like secret customers) to see what is going on with the newbies.

      If an agent does want to see more of your writing, she would naturally go to your blog to see how polished and professional is your cyber-presence. Scary thought, right?

      You're right. There are so many needs and demands on our time. And the internet is sedutive. We have to carve out some meaningful time for our writing and for re-charging our writer's fire. You have inspired me to do write right now.

      I'm glad you enjoyed my post and my small jokes. :-)

      I want 500 million followers! If one out of a million bought my books, I might break even on what I have spent on them! LOL.

      Yes, we have to stop blogging and start writing our book, too! :-)

      I'm glad you liked my post. If it's any solace, I'm still trying to find my balance, too.

    13. I don't tweet, and rarely go on face book. I think my blog is beginning to look abandoned too as I rarely post more than twice a week these days.

      Sad to say I'm not good at this social media thing. For me, its probably a good thing that agents/publishers don't visit blogs, they'd be all like "she posts what?" and put my stories in the bottom of a slush pile. Eeek :)


    14. Wise words, Roland. Snaring those "non-writing readers" isn't likely to happen in the blogosphere; my motivation for blogging is the sense of community it generates. We're all in this together.

    15. Donna:
      I am still surprised that an agent solicited ME from reading a query of mine I posted to let my friends see how I did a Query. She passed, of course.

      My job as a rare blood courier drains me of time and energy so that, like you, social networking suffers.

      And basically, I am a shy man ... really surprising from a man who lives in worlds of his own making, right?

      It just hit me that my shyness ... and perhaps my pride ... prevents me from gaining a few non-writing readers FROM THE BLOGOVERSE!

      We just ask ...

      Ask our blogging friends ...

      that if they enjoyed our ebooks to give one to a friend (99 cents ones, of course)

      or talk one of our books up to their friends then give one or two to a friend that seemed mildly interested, saying, "Just read the first page."

      We ask our friends. All they can say is no. And saying no is both easier to say and to hear on the net! :-)

    16. Great advice Roland but I couldn't really concentrate on writing anything besides sad poetry when I had a full time job. You are so kind, so talented and considerate for giving your followers wonderful tips on how to improve as writers. Worrying about anything like food, the mortgage, kids etc. will obviously be a continual distraction and perhaps a great source of material.

    17. The Desert Rocks:
      A full time job as a rare blood courier takes so much out of me that is true!

      I try to give my friends what I think I would want in their place ... besides a date with Olivia Wilde, that is! LOL.

      You are kind to visit and chat awhile with me. And yes, the challenge of working adds depth to what I do end up writing. You are perceptive, Roland

    18. Great advice - right on point, like all your other posts. Love the Craig's List idea too.

    19. Thanks, E.D.
      I am still trying to figure out how to use Craig's List to its best advantage. I am so cyber-challenged! :-)