So you can read my books

Friday, March 1, 2013


Has Blogging become as fruitless as surfing in the desert?

The circle is now complete -
     when I left you, I was but the learner, now I am ....

Oops!  You can tell I've watched STAR WARS too many times.

The circle is, indeed, now complete:

In the ’90s, people didn’t understand what blogging was.

In the ’00s, people read other people’s blogs when they woke up in the morning or when they arrived at work.

Now, in the ’10s, it seems like people don’t understand what blogging is again.

There are so many competing interests online that even the most well-intentioned tools, reminders and browser apps

(RSS readers, bookmarking sites and Morning Joe, for example)

are not enough to drive people back to favorite blogs regularly.

The key, if you're wondering, is your Google search ranking.

If you care whether your website shows up on Google, you need to be adding fresh content to your website on a regular basis.

When Google comes to your website to check in with its bots,
it can see if you have a new blog post each week,

and will grant you a better search ranking because your content is not only on topic, but fresh.

Then, there are blog tours ...

This morning, I stuck my head out the cyber-window
to look out

and was promptly pelted by thousands of cover reveals,
blog tours, guest posts, all screaming one thing:


Katie Mills (Creepy Query Girl) and I {No, we are not an item!

I do not want to be shot by her husband -- though it would look romantic in my obit}
started our blogs at approximately the same time: 
three years ago.

There were twitter wars, contests, vlogs, prizes, and blog hops galore

and it seemed as though all our friends were a part
of the celebrations, all truly excited for their fellow bloggers
who made it into the Big Time.

Now, with the advent of Kindle Publishing, there are seemingly dozens of blog tours,

cover reveals, blog hops, guest posts, etc. every week. 
It is hard to stand out in such an avalanche of social media.

All the buzz is beginning to sound forced,
becoming softer and softer until the distinct
titles are all merging together.

Katie herself wrote about this last October, my birthday month:

Is Jessica Bell right?  Is it really mostly a matter of luck if your book or blog takes off?

Is blogging losing its ability to sell books, to draw readers?

Are blog tours losing their impact with you, too?

What alternatives are out there?
Is Facebook becoming mundane, too?
Is Twitter becoming a snow-flurry of hype and

What do you think?

Post Script:
For all of you who are looking for a fascinating site with public domain photographs, try

A taste of magic and joy:


  1. I think Jessica is right, luck does have something to do with it, and timing is important.

    It depends if you want to invest a great amount of time in the blog world.

    As for ranking, I sometimes will google search a post that's getting more views. In one search for Siegfried and Brunhilde,my post and blog was listed right after wikipedia.

    I know a little about keywords and SEO, so that might help. My daughter thought it was because of the mention in 'Django Unchained' about this legend.

    I don't do Twitter or Facebook for the reasons you mentioned, and lack of time. When something is available for the masses, then the masses are going be there competing for that target audience.

  2. LOl; well, this conversation sparked a long rant. You can thank me for deleting it, and just posting a simple - yeah, blogging does seem to be more about advertising and reviews.

    I know I'm letting so many authors down by not hosting every tour, cover reveal, and promotion with all my friends. The stress is getting to me.


  3. D.G.:
    I'm with you about that luck.

    As a rare blood courier, I do not have the luxery to spend time on the Net at work, and when I drag home, I am exhausted!

    You and I feel the same way about Facebook and Twitter it seems. Like minds. :-)

    I wished you had kept the long answer. I would have loved to read it.

    Blogging seems to have lost the personal appeal it had three years ago. There is just so many book, blog, and cover tours that you can do without crumbling under the weight of it all, aren't there?

    Have fun with your blog. It is yours after all, Roland

  4. It is indeed changing but like all things that become a part of life, one tends to find one's place in the grand scheme. As a way to promote a book? Really not the best vehicle for that. I too would have liked to read Donna's rant, dang it. Make her come back and repost her comment LOL.

  5. Is it too many books and promotions for those books? Even I am beginning to think so. I enjoy the Ninja News and that will always be part of my blog, even through the A to Z Challenge. But add a cover reveal, a book announcement, a guest post... and I'm not even writing my blog posts anymore.
    And it's hard to say no. Nothing more satisfying than helping another. It can be a lot of fun, such as my first foray into a cover reveal with CassaStorm. (It overwhelmed me the volunteers and some of the creative entries, like Michael's space journey saga.) But this fall, I'm going to try to do something really different for my online tour, since we've all seen it before. (And since it might be my last book, I want to go out with a bang.)
    I don't think it's lost its appeal - we just need to refocus on why we are doing it. And if it's too many ads, too many posts, not enough content and not enough interaction, then it's up to us to change it.
    I'm looking forward to the Challenge because April is wide open. I will still have a very short Ninja News, but otherwise, no tours, no reveals - it will be all me. And I intend to have fun with it.

  6. Every slice of cost-free media has been usurped for free promotion: blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc. It is a lot of white noise and an unbelievable amount of wasted cyberspace. Early on, blogs as a sales platform were unique and had some impact. Now, as always with saturation marketing, that potential has been exhausted (at least for fiction). In my opinion, blogging as an even quasi-viable marketing tool died some time ago.

    (Here's where I get myself in trouble again) Guest posts and blog tours have never had an impact on me. I read blogs to hear from the blogger, not someone who begged their way into a guest stint. A pre-scheduled guest post means I likely won't visit the blog that day. I've had a blog for most of the last six years and the only two guest writers I've ever hosted were you, Roland, and my CP. And that was back in the day when blog tours had some meaning.

    Caveat: I still think ONE-DAY concentrated cover reveals are fun and useful. The best thing you can do is put a cover in front of someone, relate the pitch and see if their interest is peaked. The most riveting guest post in the world isn't going to sell a book because most folks won't invest their valuable time in reading a long post by a stranger.

    Yes, blogs are still alive and kicking but they should be used for what they were created for: as a means for the blogger to express his or her thoughts, as a platform to exchange ideas, to interact with other bloggers, and to sell him or herself.

    I can't wait until all the book hawkers realize they're wasting their time, take a hike, and blogging goes back to what it once was: a way to promote yourself and learn through an exchange of ideas.

    Alternatives? None. Practicable free promotion is near an end. There are too many books out there, and it's no longer realistic to think your voice can be heard without paying for a platform that sets you apart.
    *1,052,803 books were published in the U.S. 2009.
    *Approximately 3,000,000 books were published in the U.S. in 2011.
    *Est. ISBN #s issued in 2012? 15,000,000

    ~VR Barkowski

  7. I've only blogged since 2010, first with Wordpress, and then Blogger. So my experience is short. I'm with Donna, even though we didn't get to read her longer version, a lot of it stresses me out.

    In many ways, I feel like I fail my fellow writers when I don't promote, host, reveal, and participate in every event. It's a downer and I believe on a subconscious level, drives me further from blogging. I only post once a week, and during a normal week, I can only devote one day to hopping around. Otherwise, I get nada accomplished.

    I feel all the promo takes away from the personal touch of blogs. The personal connection, which is the true reason I began blogging.

    I'd like to have fun with blogging, but instead I hang around feeling guilty about all the things I haven't participated in. I will say, I believe a change is needed. Exactly what? I'm not sure.

    I'll try to swing back around later, as I'm interested in what others have to say. Great topic, Roland. :)

  8. Great conversation going on here, when I came back. I liked what VR said too! I want to add my wish that Donna H. had left her long comment.

  9. I still think it's luck! I have guest on my blog every Wednesday now, because I was getting so many requests to host people I was going insane. But know I have rules. If you want to promote on my blog, it has to be accompanied by a guest post that is inspiring and motivational. It has to SAY something people would be interested in reading. Very rarely will I just host a cover reveal anymore, unless the blogger is a really close friend. I def agree with VR. I read blogs because I want to read something interesting from the blog owner.

  10. LOl; my longer comment said a lot of what Alex, VR and Candi related. My IWSG post on Wednesday has a lot of these issues in it.

    Thanks for bringing this topic up Roland. I've been debating about deleting my IWSG post; I think I'll leave it as scheduled.


  11. WE may have reached a certain saturation point, but a rag dripping with water can be wrung into our mouths to quench our thirst if only for moment. It helps if the cloth is clean as is the water or we'll get all sorts of tainting ingredients that leave a bad taste or even poison us.

    To much time can be spent on social media if we're not selective (like me--don't follow my example), but there is also a usefulness to it all. Throw enough stuff out there and it's going to catch someone's attention somewhere eventually. It's the story of advertising and promotion. The beauty now is that so much of it is free for a matter of our time and effort. Balance is the key. Finding the ideal point of balance.

    I understand why you would be pondering this. I do frequently and I'm not even trying to market anything yet other than myself and my blogs.

    Writers Workshop
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  12. Karen:
    I asked, and she is doing it on her Wednesday INSECURE WRITER SUPPORT BLOG POST. Like my hero, Sam McCord, I feel the Big Picture sometimes chew up the little guy!

    I think our present take on blogging needs some pruning, for it has grown wild like some unkept rose garden.

    We need to touch the hearts of our cyber-friends again. Not to point to ourselves so much as to point to the common insecurities we all share and how we are grabbling with them.

    I look forward to your last book tour. I hope you change your mind about it being your last -- but I can see your heart moving away from books to your music.

    And yes, fun is something that has been lacking in so many blogs these days.

    Yes, blogging has been burned out as a viable marketing tool. I have many cyber-friends and very few buyers of my books -- which I have worked so hard on.

    Even with the allure of autographed photos of Johnny Depp and Iam of VAMPIRE DIARIES, no one has written one review of THREE SPIRIT KNIGHT -- and 2 out of 12 reviewers will win them.

    Thank you for hosting me with Hibbs in THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS. He growls a thank you his way himself! Yes, those days blog tours had meaning -- and I tried to make my guest posts fun and with the help of Hibbs, the cub with no clue, I think I succeeded. :-) Those charming days have gone alas.

    I think my covers by Leonora Roy are some of the beautiful out there. I can say that because I didn't do them! LOL. Perhaps I should do a cover reveal for THREE SPIRIT KNIGHT but most have seen it sadly. You are right. One day cover reveal have some impact. But I know many who see a cover reveal on one blog and stay away from all the others, for they know what is coming.

    You are sadly right:

    When in three years books published have gone from 1 to 15 million a year, it is impossible to be seen and heard.

    We are singing to the choir who are deafened by the screaming lyrics of millions of others.

    I try to help my writing friends with the lessons I taught as a creative writing teacher and learned as I wrote my novels.

    Let us reach out to one another and have fun. Life is unpredictable and all too short.

    Yours was a very insightful reply. Thank you, Roland

  13. Candilynn:
    Yes, blogging has become dreary for so many -- me, included, if I do not bring myself up short -- or if Sandra does not. :-)

    You simply cannot participate in every event. Nor is it realistic for you to expect that of yourself.

    Blogging when I first entered the realm was warm and friendly. Now, it is like a country church that has become successful, sprawling, losing what made it alive in the first place.

    As a rare blood courier, my time is so limited. Even more so as my center is down-sizing. So I am not able to visit as many as once I could.

    All this Promo is freezing the warmth from the blogdom I knew.

    Last year, when a passing car clipped me in the parking lot of the apartment complex where I lived, I watched the sun ooze down through the branches of a cypress tree as I felt the blood ooze through my fingers. The complex was empty for hours. I wondered if any of my blogging friends would miss me, if any would read the adventures of Sam, Victor, and Alice.

    A neighbor finally pulled in and saw my fix. It was not as bad as it felt. And my blogging friends all through that month showed me that I mattered to them. And that meant more than I can say.

    Blogdom can still be warm and loving.

    This is a great conversation, isn't it? I woke up at 1 PM being exhausted from the past 12 days working, so I am just now getting into the ruckus.

    Didn't VR have insightful things to say? Donna promised Wednesday on her blog, we will see what her comment would have been.

    Yes, sadly, I believe it is still a matter of luck -- and I have what Sandra call Strange Luck!!

    I feel my covers are beautiful. Sandra assures me my prose is beautiful, too -- and that even though she is fighting cancer, she finds laughter and adventure in my novels.

    And my sales are in single digits!

    Your rules make sense, and I follow them on my own blog -- each post must be worth the breath taken to read them.

    Please don't delete your IWSG post! We all want to read what you have to say!

    The trouble with that soaked rag is that no one is thirsty for endless self-promotion. We thirst to reach out and connect to another struggling soul who understands and may have found a smoother path to the peace we all seek.

    You're right. Moderation is the key to most things. Thanks for commenting when your time is so short. It means a lot to me, Roland

  14. Personally, I've never bought books based on blog tours or cover reveals, but I have bought books based on recommendations I got from people I met through blogging. I think it continues to evolve.

  15. Oh yes, getting shot by him would make such a romantic write-up.

    Thanks for this post - I partially agree with Jessica on luck, but we also can't sit here & do nothing and expect success to come grab us by the throat. It appears the blog-blitz tactic has run its course, so...what to do? Well, I'm starting by only having my cover reveal at ONE blog (home of the amazing Michael D. because he's also gotten tired of the same old as I'm sure you've seen). And from there, who knows?

  16. Matthew:
    I have bought books from the early days of book blog tours but there are so many now that it is like looking out at a blizzard of covers! Like you, I buy now from personal interest or friendly recommendations. Thanks for visiting and commenting! :-)

    Yes, with my center voiding my job, getting shot by him would not be romantic but welcomed!

    Yes, Jessica does have a good point. Luck plays a great part in our success. Like you, I believe we should keep in there pitching in order to be out there to be seen by Lady Luck.

    Your idea of only one blog for your cover reveal seems to be a way around over-satuation.

    I've been wracking my brains trying to think of a "novel" way to get my book out there -- but so far nothing. Rats! :-)

  17. Wow, this is so on topic - so to speak. I've been wondering the same thing myself. It's sometimes difficult to visit blogs when they all have the same content (on the same day even).

  18. You're right, Roland. The blogosphere can still be a warm, loving place. :))