So you can read my books

Wednesday, January 16, 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 SPARINGLY.
  • 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.

  • Do not 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.
    (I once worked for a crisis hot line)

    This because I loved GROUNDHOG DAY


    1. Excellent points, Roland!
      And you know you can guest post on my blog anytime.
      I had not online presence when I signed a contract with my publisher, but their first response was 'get your butt online.'
      And you are at 1100 followers my friend!

    2. Great tips. Thank you for sharing these for people like me who someday hope to be writers :)

    3. I blog less than your criteria. It's the pace that fits me for now.

    4. This is a really great post. All true, and we forgive you for not commenting when you are busy delivering the goods. No worries. Good luck with ABNA.

    5. Alex:
      Blogger opened & closed my reply to you, maddening me to no end!

      I'm glad you liked my post. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting. It means a lot to me.

      I've guested on your blog before, and I would feel greedy and selfish to ask to do so again.

      But I have fond memories of my times there and of Mark Twain kidnapping you aboard Flash Gordon's space ship!

      If an idea for a guest post from me occurs to you that is fun and would help you in some way, I am your man!

      You definitely have become an on-line presence like your publisher wanted. You are a juggernaunt! Have fun this weekend.

      I appreciate each and every one of my followers. They make me feel not quite so alone. :-)

      Optimistic Existentialist:

      Margaret Fuller, one of the original existentialists, is a major character in 10 of my novels. I wish your writing dreams come true.

      You must blog to your instincts and your window of opportunity. Your posts are lovely. I especially like your lates on Fitzgerald's TENDER IS THE NIGHT.

      Shell Flower:
      Your prize of the new design to your blog is lovely. I especially like the kitten in the sea shell!

      I am so happy you liked this post. I try to help my friends in my posts. I have no hopes for ABNA, but you never know! :-)

    6. Is it just January blues or has anyone else noticed a lot less activity on Blogger these days?

    7. Much of what you say is valid, Roland. If we are so swamped by social media, in the end we'll have nothing to say, no book to talk about--and will kick ourselves for wasting so much time. I'm seriously considering pulling the plug on Google+ and LinkedIn--really, why am I there? Facebook and Twitter are the most useful, but I love blogs best, even if they are time consuming. And no matter what the excuse, we can't expect people to visit/comment on our blogs if we don't return the visit. D.

    8. You make some excellent points here, Roland. I blog but do not have time for other social media at present. I would rather do one thing well (I hope well!!) and concentrate my time to that.

    9. Good post, I agree with many of your points. Updating a blog is essential, even if its only a few sentences. :-)

      Limiting time on social media is key to getting work out there! Something I need to do, although I find Twitter very useful for keeping up with industry news.

    10. Rolland:

      I come to your blog because I love your voice. Its sultry for a guy. I also come to your blog because you have passion no matter what you post. You're a REAL-BIE.

      Hugs and chocolate,

    11. This was a great post, it made me feel less guilty seeing that you talked about what I do and don't do. Now I know I'm not the only one can't do it all if I'm writing.

    12. Terrific advice Roland....

      Thanks for sharing you experience and views. They are always a WELCOME treasure.

    13. Donna:
      Blogger was in the slump during November and December as well. Every activity or fad has its moment. Blogging may have had its time in the sun.

      Twitter is now hot. It is perfect for the short attention span and for those fond of talking about themselves. I look at my Twitter feed and see so many people shouting for attention that they are not paying attention to anyone else.

      Good observation, Donna.

      Yes, no matter the excuse: if you are not a friend, you cannot expect friendship in return. I found no connection for myself in either Google+ or LinkedIn so I am there but little.

      The same is true for Facebook and Twitter. I try to find Industry news there but the roar of BUY MY STUFF! drowns out any of that usually.

      As always an insightful comment.

      Yes, do one thing with all your heart and it will show -- as it does with your blog. :-)

      I wish I could find the Industry news on Twitter that you do. I guess I have followed back too many aspiring authors to let the agents and publishers I have followed to have much impact in my Twitter feed! Oops.

      I'm glad you liked my post.

      Thank you so much for the nice words. Alice says you must be thinking of Victor's eyes not my voice! Forgive her ... she's biased! :-)

      Your posts are always warm and true as well as absorbing. :-)

      To be authentic is the best gift we can give ourselves and others. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting!

      There is only so much time in our day, and we are committed to so many tasks in today's world, right?

      May success reward your writing dreams, Roland

      Your visits are welcome treasure as well. May this year prove to be your year!

    14. I see so many new people fall into the self promotion trap. I feel like the real goal of a blog is relationship building. Make friends, amuse, promote OTHERS... in there you end up with friends who will then go to bat for you.

      Facebook, too... concentrate on forming friendships. THEN, when you have an announcement, you only need to make it once or twice and oodles of people will help it spread. Sounds MUCH better to have others promoting us than us ourselves...

    15. Wow, this is great. Loved it! I agree, as a general rule, agents probably don't read blogs. Except, when I spoke with mine on the phone a few weeks back, she commented on all the things she read on mine. O_O So glad I'm not an all-the-time-ranter!