Here is a list of annoying things. I’ve put together a poll. Let me know if this happens at YOUR house.
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Where Quiet Dignity is on Indefinite Hiatus
Lately on the interwebz there’s been a lot of conversation among and by writers and people who are not writers but who like to talk about what the rules are for writers. This last category includes editors and agents, but also people who used to be those things or who were never those things.
The latest bit of advice to fly about is this: Blogging is dead. It’s a waste of time. Authors should stop blogging.
This “advice” seems to be sourced mainly from this conversation by L.L Barkat at Jane Friedman’s blog. You notice there’s no data there– no analytics at all to support the opinion. There’s no discussion of fiction. And no discussion about the benefits of blogging on your visibility. The underlying assumption that you’d only blog to create a platform big enough to get a book deal has merit for some people. But most of those people are not authors of fiction.
ETA: corrected the spelling of LL Barkat’s last name. (thanks for letting me know!)
If you’re an author of fiction, here’s reasons NOT to blog.
These are all good reasons not to blog. If any of them are true, then don’t blog. End of story. Every author has different likes and dislikes in the part of authoring that has to do with being public and social. Do the ones you like.
If you have a blog, then YOU are the one who knows what your traffic is like. No third party, be they an agent, editor, or publishing pundit, has any idea if your blog brings traffic to your website.
When I look at the top thirty URLS to my website, #2 is my wordpress feed. (I self-host my wordpress blog. If you blog, so should you.)
When I look at the top 10 entry pages to my website (you’re profoundly wrong if you think it’s your home page) #2-10 are my wordpress feed and specific wordpress posts.
Among the top 25 pages at my website:
My wordpress feed is #1. My home page is #2, then it’s a mix of my book pages, specific blog posts, my section on craft.
I’ve been blogging since 2001. Not as long as Scalzi, but longer than just about everyone else. That means there’s a LOT of content there that gets spidered, searched, and ranked.
IF you blog, your biggest mistake is not self-hosting. Self-hosting means it’s all on my site — all of it. Including analytics that are integrated with all the rest of my website pages. That’s why I can tell you that blogging is a major component of my web traffic. I can see which posts are popular and where they fit in relation to my other web content.
In a way, the answer is, that’s the wrong question. Blogging is a way for me to remind others that I’m around, especially in between books. It’s part of my web presence, and my analytics tell me it’s a big part.
If you’re only blogging to sell books, then I think it’s likely your blog posts in general, aren’t all that interesting to the general fiction reader. Most of us are extremely sensitive to content that’s intended to sell something, particularly when the content is trying to pretend otherwise. We smell it a mile away and often avoid the hell out of it. If that’s the ethos behind your blog, the impact on your web presence is different. Not necessarily wrong, just different.
I enjoy having a forum for some of my strong opinions. I don’t stress much about going a few days or longer between posts. I’ve found that blogging on certain non-writing related subjects can generate a lot of interest. Cooking and Baking. Photographs. Bollywood movies. Content that I am comfortable sharing with anyone who happens by.
There’s a lot I don’t blog about: personal stuff. Family (other than the occasional mention that I have one). Things I don’t think are anyone’s business.
The message is mine to craft, and that ability is a very good reason to blog.
(You should now be able to select more than one answer.)
Yay!!! My good friend Megan is visiting here today to answer questions, talk about her new book, and submit to a Shoe-Off. (Dun dun dun!!!) There’s a poll AND a contest.
Megan Caldwell grew up in a remote town in New Hampshire where she devoured every book of fiction in her well-read parents’ library. An English literature major at Barnard College with double minors in political science and religion, Megan wrote and edited reviews for a music industry magazine for fifteen years. Eventually, she became editor-in-chief and went on to develop conference programs for the industry. Now she is the community manager for Heroes and Heartbreakers, a romance novel website, where she blogs daily as Megan Frampton about the fiction she reads. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.
Her husband left her for a younger, blonder woman; her six-year-old son is questioning her authority, and now so is she. In order to pay her Brooklyn rent and keep her son supplied with Pokémon and Legos, not to mention food and clothing, she has to get a job—fast.
So when an old friend offers Molly a freelance position copywriting for a new bakery, finding romance is just about the last thing on her mind. But the sexy British pastry chef who’s heading up the bakery has other thoughts. And then so does Molly, when she meets the chef’s intimidating business partner—who also happens to have a secret that might prevent Molly from getting her own happily ever after.
First – this book was hilarious! I was texting my daughter parts and she would “LOL” back. Then I had to just call her and read her a whole page because it was too long to text. There were parts where I was laughing so hard I had tears running down my face. This book was very quirky, quippy, snarky, and sarcastic and I loved it for it! A book after my own heart! Wall-to-wall-books
Molly’s journey towards financial and emotional independence is a wonderfully witty, charming, and yummy tale that is sure to appeal to readers and foodies alike. Caldwell’s debut is a winner across the board and a perfect addition for everyone’s romance shelf. Tori Benson, via Goodreads
Reading this book is like sitting down with a friend and talking about her life. Molly is complete and well-drawn, with intelligence, flaws, fantasies, a snarky voice, and a great sense of humor. She’s the kind of woman you know—or maybe wish you knew. You sort of want to punch her ex-husband, and you definitely want to hug her kid…even if you don’t generally like kids in books. Laura C: The Good, The Bad, and The Unread
Q: When you were working on this book, did you ever get hungry? Also, I have heard that you are making some of the items from the bakery in the book. Spill.
A: I am usually hungry, so yes, I did get hungry in the course of writing the book. I love food, I love all kinds of food except for lima beans. I did try to make one of the recipes along with my much more organized friend and author Liz Maverick; our results are here: Do Readers Actually Make Recipes in Novels, Romance at Random
I don’t think I’m going to attempt any more, not at this time. I kind of suck as a cook; I can follow recipes, and I like eating, of course, but I am not good beyond that.
Q:. Your family has a pet. Can you tell us about the kitty? Does she help you write? Do you have a picture? My cat Abu was stuck in a tree for three days. Do you worry your cat will be stuck in a tree?
A: We got Kiki over the summer as a kitten (a rescue), and MAN do I love this kitty. She’s all black with green eyes, and she’s quite wee, just under five pounds. I was brought up to believe I had OMGDEATHLYHOSPITAL allergies, so this is the first pet I have ever had and been allowed to keep (my mom fed my pet gerbils to a boa constrictor. Thanks, Mom!). Kiki is a strictly indoors cat, so she won’t get stuck in any trees, although she has a tendency to want to sneak under our bed, because she’s not allowed in our bedroom, so of course it makes it the most appealing room EVER. I can’t imagine having a cat stuck in a tree for three whole days! Yikes!
Q:. OK, I didn’t know this was a thing, but apparently it is. Three people, which one do you marry, which one do you kill, and which one do you have mad intimate relations with. I am going to make this really hard for you:
1. Richard Armitage
2. Gerard Butler
3. Clive Owen
A: This is a snap, because Gerard Butler is totally not my steez. I would fuck Richard Armitage until the cows come home (stay out late, cows, okay?), I would marry Clive Owen, and I would kill Gerard Butler because, dude, your film choices and your hair have both been sliding downhill for awhile now.
Q. Answer this in 3 seconds: Cupcakes or Tarts? Why (you can take longer than 3 seconds to answer to why part)
A: Tarts! I agree with my son when he announced cakes are just bread with frosting, and since cupcakes are smaller than that, I would have to go for a tart. Tarts have buttery, flaky dough, and cupcakes are cute to look at, and all, but not for eating. So tarts. Plus the word—TART. Love it.
Q: You have actual style. Do you have any advice for those of us who don’t? How can we fake it?
A: Wear only a few colors (make sure they go together, so no tangerine and asparagus). I wear a TON of black (yes, I live in NYC, it’s a requirement). Everything matches, and you always look put together.
Q: This book has a journey. Please tell us about that.
A: A journey as in it went somewhere? It went all over the place—I wrote it just for ME, even though I didn’t think of myself as a contemporary author, much less someone who would write something that could be called ‘women’s fiction.’ Because, ugh, women’s fiction sounds so pigeonhole-y and dismissive. But anyway. I started writing it, and it was a blast, and I felt like I had to finish it, and I went and queried agents, and nobody wanted to represent it, not even the agent who said she read it and laughed out loud, because she couldn’t think where to sell it. But then I was at a conference with an author friend who was getting into agenting, and I got drunk with her and we talked about books, and I sent her a copy of my first—and heretofore only—published book, A Singular Lady, prior to her taking a long plane ride to South Africa. I asked if she wanted to see a proposal of Mothering Heights (which was what Vanity Fare was first called), and she said yes, and she asked for the whole thing, and she said she wanted to represent it. We agreed to work together, she sent it out a lot of places, where it got rejected, and then it got TWO offers, both from excellent publishers. I went with William Morrow.
Q: What the hell is it with boots in NY? Seriously. Here in my part of California the people who wear boots are cowboys, someone stopping at the coffee place on their way home from riding their horse, and people from NY.
A: Boots are so practical! You can wear them through bad weather, and puddles, and snow, and with and without tights, and under jeans, and with dresses, and they’re kick-ass. And—guess what I’m wearing RIGHT NOW?
Q. What’s next for you?
A: I’m writing a Regency-set historical called What Not to Bare, which is a far cry from Vanity Fare, except that once again there’s a hot British guy in it. I can only write my characters if I have a real person in mind for them, and for this book, the hero looks a LOT like British male model David Gandy.
Who has the better footwear? Megan Caldwell or Carolyn Jewel? Don’t worry, I will NOT release the Hounds Of Hell no matter who you vote for.
All right, people, a $20 Amazon gift certificate goes to one random commenter who asks Megan a question. Bonus Karma points for telling us what shoes you’re wearing.
Rules: Must be 18 or over to enter. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. International is OK IF AND ONLY IF it’s not void or illegal where you live and Amazon will let me send you the gift certificate. Contest closes midnight PST January 15, 2013.
Last night, I think I finally hit on a possible title for Harsh Marit’s story (My Immortals Series, Book 5). I keep mulling over a few things, like, should I keep the “My [Something] [Something]” pattern of the first 4 books?
Here are those titles, by the way:
1. My Wicked Enemy
2. My Forbidden Desire
3. My Immortal Assassin
4. My Dangerous Pleasure
4.5 Free Fall
Should I go completely different with the titles?
Anyway, here is a poll with two variations of my proposed title. Vote for your favorite or, in the comments, suggest, comment, criticize, improve, or just tell a really good joke.
As some of you may know, in order to have some actual experience with the Kindle Select (KDP Select) program I enrolled Free Fall, the My Immortals novella, in the program. I blogged about that decision here.
The KDP Select program means a book must be exclusive to Kindle for 90 days. It cannot be for sale anywhere else, including your own website.
Amazon Prime members can read your book for free. Authors in the Select program are reimbursed for borrows through a pool of money Amazon divides among authors. Books enrolled in the program can be scheduled for a total of 5 days during which the book is free. All well and good for the author. Most authors make most of their money via Amazon so the income lost because of the exclusive period is, from what I hear, often not a huge amount. There are reports of authors doing very well with the program.
But is it good for readers?
As mentioned, I enrolled Free Fall in KDP Select. I sent out a newsletter today (Saturday April 7) announcing that Free Fall was available. But I also asked subscribers for their opinion on the exclusivity. I heard from several people right away.
Not surprisingly, they were Nook owners and they were disappointed that they would have to wait for Free Fall. I also heard from two people who were hoping for a print version. I have that in process now and hope to have a Create Space POD version available pretty soon.
As a writer, I want my book to get to ALL my readers. 90 days limited to one platform seems … anti-momentum and anti any reader w/o a Kindle or Kindle App.
I know B&N has made 30 day exclusive arrangements with some authors, but those are not promotions average authors can get into. Regardless, 30 days doesn’t seem so bad. 90 days does. That’s a long time to ask a reader to wait when that reader knows the book is actually available… just not to them….
I don’t know if the KDP program will make up for the money I lose by not having the book on sale elsewhere. I won’t have complete data until the 90 days is up. But this sort of thing is why you do tests. So you can get a handle on the actual effects.
I think it’s not enough to look at sales data. What other effects might there be?
Put on your Reader hat!
This is for a Historical Romance series title — NOT a book title! Vote and/or suggest in the comments.
The series link is a medallion said to have magical properties. But this it’s only rumored magic. Not actual magic. The series is in no way paranormal. Thanks for your opinion and suggestions!
OK, based on comments on Twitter and FB, I am adding another poll.
Here’s my theory: I think people are aligned with the same side of the teams. That is, that someone who is Team Edward, will not be Team Ranger, for example. Here’s how I group them:
|Group 1||Group 2|
Some people cross the streams, as it were, but there does seem to be a pretty close correlation.
Edward = sparkly vampire hero from Twilight. Loves Bella. (Robert Pattinson)
Jacob = Edward’s werewolf rival for Bella. (Taylor Lautner)
Bill: Vampire Bill from the Sookie Stackhouse series. Loves Sookie, but has thruthiness issues. (Stephen Moyer)
Eric: Vampire from Sookie Stackhouse series. Loves himself AND Sookie. (Alexander Skarsgard)
Angel: Vampire from Buffy series. His name is somewhat ironic. (David Borneaz)
Spike: Vampire whose life’s mission is to off Buffy until, whoa, it’s not. (James Marsters)
Morelli: Police officer from Stephanie Plum series. Loves Stephanie but isn’t happy with her career choice.
Ranger: Former Special Forces, in the same business as Stephanie.
I have this theory, call it Team Theory. I think you’ll see where I’m going with this one as you take these four polls:
Thank you for taking these polls and advancing the science of Team Theory. Questions etc in the comments.